They say cooking is a labor of love. If you buy into that thinking (I do), then you probably also know that risotto is a whole other level. And if you’ve not attempted a risotto yet, you’re about to find out if you try this recipe. Please don’t let me scare you off because it’s SO worth it.
We’ve tried our hand at risottos in the past and have enjoyed successes but took the easy-ish way out by using the Insta Pot, which all but removes the labor part. This past week, however, we did risotto the hard way and boy did it pay off.
I told my husband repeatedly as we were savoring the dish that it was my favorite risotto of all time. It was creamy and sinfully delicious. Luckily, the aforementioned husband is pretty kickass in his own right and offered to do all of the stirring.
Not only was this recipe a treat to the senses, but it was also a hoot. We attempted to decipher how much a knob of butter was and what exactly equated to a “good handful” of cheese. Obviously up for a bit of interpretation but we managed to guess and convert our way through. And was it every worth it!
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SAGE RISOTTO
Adapted from BBC Food
Total time: 90 – 120 minutes / Serves 4
- 1 large butternut squash
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- About 15 sage leaves, chopped
- flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large knobs of butter
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 14oz arborio or other Italian risotto rice
- 2 glasses white wine
- 1 liter vegetable stock
- good handful of freshly grated parmesan cheese (or alternative vegetarian hard cheese), plus extra to serve
- 3oz pine nuts, to serve
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Cut the butternut squash into 6-8 wedges, remove the seeds and place in a roasting tray. Pound or chop the garlic and add a generous glug of olive oil, half the sage leaves, sea salt and pepper. Tip into the tray and rub over the butternut squash with your hands. Roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes until softened and becoming golden in color.
Once the squash has cooked, cool slightly, then scrape the soft flesh away from the skin into a bowl. Lightly mash with a fork or potato masher until it is fairly chunky in texture. Scrape any sticky juices left in the roasting tray into the bowl and keep warm while making the risotto.
Heat the olive oil and a good knob of butter in a deep, heavy-based frying pan or saute pan. Gently fry the onion until softened. Add the rice and stir for about a minute until the grains are coated with the oil and butter. Pour in the wine and stir continuously until it has cooked into the rice. Add a good ladle of hot stock and the remaining sage and season well with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down so the stock is simmering gently. Keep adding ladles of stock as it cooks into the rice, stirring and moving the rice around in the pan. After about 15-20 minutes the rice should be soft but still have a bit of bite left in it. The texture of the risotto should be thick and creamy, but not too loose. Add extra stock if necessary. It may seem tedious standing and stirring but the end result will be worth it.
Remove the pan from the heat and gently stir the roasted butternut squash into the risotto with the parmesan, the remaining butter and seasoning to taste. Add any extra stock if the risotto seems particularly thick. Cover with a lid for a couple of minutes as this will give the risotto an even creamier texture.
During this time, place the pine nuts in a fairly hot frying pan and toss around until golden. Spoon the risotto into warmed bowls and scatter with the pine nuts and extra parmesan.
- Enjoy — hopefully paired with a good white!