Warming risotto for October’s kitchen

October in the kitchen

Roasted squash risotto

Simple flavours - always the best!

Simple flavours – always the best!

I was given a Turks Head Squash at the Harrogate Show last month and wasn’t sure what to do with it! After some research and a bit of experimenting I’ve found that it’s quite similar to a butternut squash in taste and in cooking but is just a little more awkward to cut up!

Serves 2 Takes about 30 minutes

Aproximately  450g squash (I’ve used a turks head squash but butternut or acorn work really well too)

4 tablespoons olive oil

50g butter

600ml good vegetable/chicken stock

1 small onion, chopped small

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

140g Arborio (risotto) rice

100ml dry white wine

50g parmesan cheese, finely grated

Salt and pepper

  •  Cut the squash up into manageable slices and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Peel the squash being  careful if the squash has been in storage for a while as the peel can be quite brittle and tough. Chop the flesh into approximately 2cm pieces.
  • Toss about half the pieces in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and put in a small roasting tin. Season with plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper then pop in the oven 200C/fan 180/gas6 whilst you cook the risotto or until the chunks are crisp and golden on the outside but really tender inside (about 20 minutes). You may need to turn over a couple of times during cooking.
  • Pour the  stock into a medium sized pan and add the remaining chunks of squash. Bring to very gentle simmer then leave to cook as you cook the risotto.
  • Heat the remaining oil and 2/3 of the butter in a medium sized lidded frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry over a gentle heat with the lid on until the onion is softened but not coloured at all. Scatter in the thyme leaves and a good grinding of pepper, then recover and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Turn the heat up slightly and tip in the risotto rice. Coat well in the oil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Turn the heat up a little more and add the wine. Allow to bubble away until it has all evaporated then turn the heat down to medium and add in a ladle of the stock. Stir gently all the time until the stock has been absorbed then repeat until you have used up all the stock, a ladle at a time.
  • The mixture should be wet and move as one around the pan as the starch from the rice binds everything together.
  • Quickly mash the squash in the stock pan and add to the risotto. Stir into the rice. Turn off the heat.
  • Dot with the remaining butter then scatter over 2/3 of the parmesan. Cover with the lid and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. Check for seasoning.

Serve immediately in shallow bowls and scatter the roasted squash chunks over the top along with the remaining parmesan cheese.