I’ve been panic buying squash. The amazing Riverford Organic from whom we order our veg box, have also been delivering a box full of squashes of different shapes and sizes, which we’ve been decorating the house with. But they need eating, so here’s a recipe for squash risotto, which serves two (very greedy) people with some leftovers. I’ve included cobnuts because there were some in the shops, and they add a lovely milky, nutty crunch, but hazelnuts work as well if you did want a garnish.
Squash Risotto with cheddar and cobnuts
Roasting the squash slices first gives the risotto a lovely mellow taste, and also saves the hassle of trying to peel a massive and ungainly squash.
1 x butternut or other medium sized squash
2 x tablespoons of standard olive oil
20-30g unsalted butter
1 x onion
2 x garlic
200g risotto rice
500ml vegetable stock
125ml white wine (if you have it around)
50g mature cheddar cheese (these two make an excellent vegetarian alternative to parmesan) plus more to serve
a handful of cobnuts (optional)
4 x fresh sage leaves
Heat the oven to 180C (gas 6). Chop the sqash into quarters and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Rub on a little olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper and place the quarters in to roast. They should be done in around 20 mins, but take them out once they are soft to a fork, and slightly blackening at the very edges. Remove from the oven and once cool slice off the skin and cut the pieces into 2cm chunks. Set aside with any juice from the pan. This stage can be done in advance.
Place the butter in the pan and heat. Add the finely chopped onion and saute on a low heat. After around 5 minutes at the finely chopped garlic and continue to saute until the onion is very soft but not coloured. Add the rice and stir to coat for a few minutes on the low heat. Then add a cup of wine (if using) and the stock, cup by cup letting each cup get absorbed before adding the rest until the rice is cooked but still has a very little bite to it (this should take aroud 20 minutes again).
Stir in three quarters of the squash pieces, finely chopped sage and the grated cheese. Cook for a further five minutes, season again if necessary.
Heat a little extra butter in a second pan and toss the remainding squash pieces and the shelled cobnuts in it for a minute before scattering on the top. Serve with extra grated cheese.