Roasted Squash and Sage Risotto

After a hectic few weeks there is nothing more I look forward to than cooking a proper meal. I believe baking is the pursuit that leaves me most satisfied with my achievements, but I find risotto the most soothing. Slowly feeding the rice with stock and stirring away is my idea of a night well spent.

I think of this a summery dish to eat on those night when summer is edging closer but you can't quite part with the comforting starchy-ness of rice, when the transition to salad isn't quite complete.

I’m sure we all know how to make a good risotto but I thought I’d share with you my favourite – roasted butternut squash and sage. I’ve thrown extra bits in there like the peas and spinach and used coconut oil over butter as I find it complements the sweet nuttiness of the squash. The recipe will serve two, or make one super good dinner and two portions for lunch/the freezer.

Now, go put your slippers on, stand in front of the hob and stir til your heart’s content.

Butternut Squash and Sage risotto

Half a butternut squash
1 white onion
1 clove of chopped garlic (or two if you’re like me)
1 heaped teaspoon of coconut oil or 1tbs olive oil
150g Risotto rice of your choosing
125ml white wine
700ml good quality vegetable stock
30g Parmesan cheese (plus a little extra to serve)
A fistful of sage
Salt and pepper to taste
Large handful of chopped spinach (optional)
Big sprinkle of peas (optional)

1. Before you make the risotto, heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7 Scatter the chopped squash into a shallow roasting tin and roast for 30 mins whilst your risotto is cooking until it is brown and soft.
2. Prepare your vegetables, weigh out the rice and chiffonade the sage (roll the leaves tightly and slice into tiny thin strips).
3. Prepare your stock and bring to the boil then keep on a low simmer. In a separate pan, melt the coconut oil over a medium heat. Stir in the onions and sweat gently for 8-10 mins until soft but not coloured, stirring occasionally. My only tip for sweating onions is to add a small pinch of salt to stop them from browning and reduce the liquid.
4. Stir the rice into the onions until completely coated in the oil, add the garlic, then stir continuously until the rice is shiny and the edges of the grain start to look transparent.
5. Pour in the wine and simmer until totally evaporated. Add the stock, a ladleful at a time and stirring the rice over a low heat for 25-30 mins, until the rice is cooked al dente (with a slightly firm, starchy bite in the middle). The risotto should be creamy and slightly soupy. When you draw a wooden spoon through it, there should be a wake that holds for a few moments but not a moment longer.
6. When the squash is cooked, mash half of it to a rough purée and leave half whole. When the risotto is just done, stir though the purée, then add the cheese, spinach and peas. Throw in the chunks of squash, stir and serve.
7. Treat yourself to an extra handful of parmesan too.

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