Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

I love the bright yellow-orange flesh of the butternut squash, and roasting is my favourite way of preparing it. Each chunk has an intense sweetness and density.

Serves: 2

1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks about 1.5 cm across
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 pinch of chilli powder (optional)
1 pinch of salt

8-10 sundried tomatoes, snipped with scissors into pieces about 1 cm square
½ pint of boiling water

1 tbsp sunflower or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 oz Arborio rice
Splash of white wine (optional)
1 pint hot, well-flavoured vegetable stock (unsalted)
Small sprig of sage leaves, chopped
14 oz tin of chopped plum tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Handful toasted pine nuts
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Grated Parmesan-style vegetarian cheese

1. Toss the butternut squash chunks to coat with the peanut oil, chilli powder and salt. Tip onto a baking tray and roast in a preheated oven at 180°C for three quarters of an hour, or until tender and beginning to brown in places.

2. Pour boiling water over the chopped sundried tomatoes to reconstitute for about 15 minutes, then drain.

3. In a saucepan, heat the sunflower or olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic until soft. Add the rice and stir to coat with oil for a minute. Add a generous splash of white wine and stir until absorbed by the rice.

4. Add the chopped sage. Add a ladleful of hot vegetable stock and cook and stir the mixture until the stock has been absorbed by the rice. Add more stock, and continue cooking and stirring. Repeat until the rice is starting to cook on the outside, but with an al dente centre. You will need to bite a few grains to check.

5. Stir in the tinned tomatoes and the sundried tomatoes. Cook, stirring over a fairly high heat to evaporate some of the liquid, for about ten minutes.

6. Add the roasted butternut squash and stir to combine. Taste to see if you need salt: the sundried tomatoes and squash will add a certain amount of saltiness already. Add ground pepper.

7. Serve on heated plates, sprinkled with some chopped parsley and the toasted pine nuts. Provide some grated parmesan and ground black pepper at the table.

*Parmesan contains rennet, so vegetarians will need to look out for a vegetarian version. I use Twining Grange’s vegetarian alternative.
*This recipe would work well with courgettes, aubergine, sweet peppers or a mixture of roasted veg.
*Serve with a green salad or steamed veg such as broccoli, green beans or peas.
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