We all know that risotto is pretty labour intensive, but somehow I really enjoy it. It doesn’t take much mental energy – you can stand there, you arm taking on an automatic stirring motion while your mind wanders somewhere else. The one thing I didn’t enjoy about making this dish was struggling with preparing the butternut squash. Anyone that knows me well will know that my arms are as weak as twigs – it took me a fair while to even chop through the skinny neck of the squash. Once you get into it it’s a lot easier, but that first cut was embarrassingly difficult.
Anyway, enough talk of my physical inferiorities. This risotto is gorgeous – creamy rice combined with rich sage and slightly sweet roasted squash. I’m obviously slightly uneducated when it comes to sage, because the first thing it brought to mind was the taste of sage and onion stuffing. This was far better than stuffing though!
Roasted butternut squash and sage risotto
2tbsp sunflower oil
400g butternut squash (approx. half a large squash), diced
1 handful sage, roughly chopped
1 onion, diced
300g arborio rice
2 stock cubes, made up with approx. 1 litre of boiling water
100g cheddar cheese, grated
Heat the oven to 200°C (Gas Mark 6 / 400°F).
Lay the cubes of butternut squash and the chopped sage on a baking tray, and coat with the oil. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the squash is soft.
Meanwhile, melt half of the butter in a risotto pan or wok. Gently soften the onion for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining butter, and once it has melted, add the rice and stir until coated.
After a few more minutes, begin adding the stock a little at a time, only adding more when the rice has absorbed the previous amount. Continue adding stock and leaving it to be absorbed until the rice is al dente – you may need more or less than the litre suggested.
Once it is soft, remove the squash from the oven. Mash half of it a little with a fork, and mix it into the risotto, along with the grated cheese. Serve topped with the remaining chunks of roasted squash and sage.