Sunday, 8 November 2015

Cooking with Nina - Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Sage Risotto

Halloween is over now and the temperatures are dropping so it's the perfect excuse to use your left over pumpkin and rustle up a tasty risotto. People are scared of cooking risottos because they do require constant attention but once you've mastered the tricks the basic recipe will become a staple in your life.

To make this risotto you will need:

- Risotto rice (1 cup per person)
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil
- 1 glass of dry white wine
- 1 small butternut squash
- 1 small pumpkin
- 1 handful of freshly grated parmesan
- Salt and pepper to season
- Some sage leaves
- Butter (optional)

1) First preheat your oven to 200.  Peel, deseed and chop up your butternut squash and pumpkin.  Put them into roasting dishes, add a dash of olive oil, salt, pepper and sage.  Mix it all together and put into the oven to roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the cubes have softened but not become mushy

2) Whilst your butternut squash and pumpkin roast, finely chop the garlic and onion.  

3) Heat up your stock in a separate pot.

4) Add your finely chopped onion and garlic to a large pan with olive oil and on medium heat fry until the onions become clear but make sure they don't burn.

5) Add your risotto rice and turn up the heat.  Fry the rice for a couple of minutes making sure it's liberally coated with the onions and garlic.  Then add the wine and stir until the liquid has cooked away, the cooking will evaporate the harsh alcohol taste.  Now add your roasted butternut squash and pumpkin and mix everything together.

6) Now add a ladle of hot stock.  Turn down the heat to a simmer.  Stir your risotto until all the liquid has been absorbed before adding another ladle.  Keep repeating this for about 15-20 minutes depending on how you like your rice cooked, so make yourself a cup of tea because this part takes the longest. The key is to not let the rice stick to the bottom of the pan and burn so don't leave your rice unattended.  I like my rice with a little bite but that's just a personal preference.  If you run out of stock just add a little bit of water.  For those of you who aren't up to constantly attending the rice, paella might be the recipe for you.

7) Once the rice is cooked to your preference take the risotto off the hob.  Add your parmesan and stir,  If you're feeling naughty add some butter (or even better some garlic butter!).  Serve with sage leaves, salt and pepper for garnish.  It's best enjoyed as soon as possible but risotto also keeps well for the next day.

Garlic bread is optional but a hefty glass of white wine comes highly recommended.  This risotto recipe can be adjusted to suit your personal tastes. I like to swap root vegetables for leek and bacon, or tomatoes.  This is a great basic recipe to have as part of your cooking repertoire, it always impresses friends and you can cook it in bulk to last you for a couple of days.

If you give this a go let me know, would love to hear what you think!

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