Butternut squash and pancetta risotto (Serves 3 to 4)


250g x Carnaroli risotto rice (I use Riso Gallo Risotto Rice Carnaroli),
1 x large butternut squash chopped,
1 x bunch of fresh sage,
1 x large white onion (chopped),
3 x garlic cloves (crushed),
900ml chicken or vegetable stock (you may use less),
Pinch of saffron (added to the sock),
1 x 77g pack of smoked pancetta cubes (I use Cooks by Waitrose),
½ cup of white wine,
2 x tbsp. of butter,
25g of parmesan (add more if you like),
Salt and pepper (to taste).


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees / gas mark 6
Add the chopped butternut squash to a baking pan along with 2 garlic crushed garlic cloves, 6 chopped sage leaves, seasoning and a drizzle of oil,
Bake the butternut squash for around 20 to 30 minutes until tender,
When the butternut is ready, remove from the oven, slightly mash with the back of a fork and leave to the side for then the risotto is ready,
In a deep frying pan, heat some oil and gentle fry the onions and garlic until soft (do not let it change colour as you want the sweet flavour),
Add the pancetta and cook for around 5 minutes (again careful not to burn),
Add the rice and stir for a minute so it’s nicely coated with the flavoured oil,
Add the wine and once it has soaked into the rice,
Add the a small amount of stock and stir,
Every time the rice soaks the liquid, add a little more stock,
Continue (patiently) adding stock and stirring, generally for about 20 to 25 minutes until the rice is cooked,
The consistency should be creamy so if you find its too dry then add a little more liquid, or if you find during the cooking its starting to look too watery then reduce the liquid,
When the rice is ready, turn the heat off, and add the butter, parmesan, seasoning and stir,
Place the lid on the pan and leave for 5 minutes for the rice to settle,
Spoon out into a bowl and top with parmesan.


One evening, being someone that doesn’t like to plan what I want to eat in advance, I reached for the butternut squash to make the ‘same old’ soup. I was not convinced at all that this is really what I fancied on this particular evening, especially after a miserable day, so after a rummage in the cupboards I decided on a risotto. Well, I reacted in pleasure with every mouthful. This dish may take some patience and time, but its good therapy and the end result is totally worth it.



Sunday, October 15, 2017 - 5:03am


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