- 1 butternut squash
- 4 tbsp light olive oil
Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…
- 600ml vegetable stock
- 50g unsalted butter
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, picked
- 140g risotto rice (we like carnaroli)
To create an authentic creamy Italian risotto, the use of specialist rice is imperative. It…
- 100ml white wine
- 50g Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), finely grated
Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6. Peel the squash and separate the bulbous seed-bearing section from the slender end. Chop the slender end into 2cm cubes, toss in half the oil, season lightly and roast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until golden brown on the outside and soft in the centre, about 30 mins. Cut the bulb in half and scrape out the seeds with a spoon – you can keep these to toast in the oven and sprinkle over salads. Chop the flesh into 2cm pieces. Warm the vegetable stock in a small pan, set over a low heat. Drop in squash and leave to gently poach.
While the squash is roasting, warm a medium-size frying pan over a gentle heat. Add the remaining olive oil and half the butter, followed by the onion. Cover and cook for 3 mins until the onion turns translucent. Stir in the celery, garlic, herbs and a few turns of pepper (no salt at this stage). Cover again and cook for a further 2 mins. Increase the heat slightly and stir in the rice. Stir, uncovered, for about 5 mins – this will help to develop the toasty aroma of the rice without burning the veg.
Turn up the heat, stir in the wine and let it bubble away to almost nothing. Reduce the heat and start adding the stock. Add one ladle at a time, stirring gently but constantly during each addition. The idea is to encourage the rice to absorb the liquid and soften, but also give up its starch to thicken the remaining broth. Don’t stir too aggressively or you will end up with a pan of mush. When the stock has been absorbed, it’s time to add the next ladleful and so on. It will take about 15 mins to reach the final ladle of stock. By this time the squash in the stock should have softened. Mash it up with the remaining stock and stir into the risotto.
Turn off the heat, dot the top of the risotto with remaining butter and most of the Parmesan, cover, leave to rest for 2 mins, then stir through and check the seasoning. Spoon the risotto into shallow bowls and sprinkle the roasted squash and leftover Parmesan on top. Serve with crusty bread and Sautéed spinach (below).
Sauteed spinach, shallots & garlicWarm 2 tbsp light olive oil in a frying pan with lid, set over a medium heat and add 25g of finely sliced shallot and 1 finely sliced garlic clove. Stir and cook for 1 min until golden. Increase the heat and add 200g washed young leaf spinach. Stir briefly, then pour in 1 tbsp water and cover tightly to help create steam. Leave for 30 secs, then remove the lid, season and boil rapidly to evaporate any remaining liquid. Simply spoon into a bowl and serve.