Butternut Squash & Spinach Risotto

You know me. I love risotto. I love your classic mushroom risotto, and I love different flavours of risotto.

One thing I’ve been cooking a lot recently is butternut squash. It’s strange, it was never something we ever had at home. Mum never really made pumpkin or squash-based dishes at home. Courgettes, absolutely. Aubergine, of course. Potatoes, without a doubt. But squashes and pumpkins, not really. I’m sure she’ll message me about why this was – or that I actually had no idea I was eating squash all this time – as soon as this blog post is published.

Obviously a lot of the recent posts have been Christmas-related, and so I thought you all needed a bit of a break and wanted to give you all something that’s still autumn/winter-inspired, but not just for Christmas.

As I was making this risotto, I hadn’t originally planned to add in the spinach, but it just felt like it needed more green to it. You know what I mean? When food looks great, but it just needs some more colour to make it really pop (and taste that little bit healthier). I’ll tell you a secret, I scooped some out and took a photo of it without the spinach, just in case the spinach idea didn’t work out. But guess what? It totally did! It added an extra depth, and a lot more colour to the dish. Plus it was a great way to use up some of my spinach that is just about to start wilting.

Lo and behold, I bring you the roasted butternut squash and spinach risotto. A great, warming winter dish that tastes delicious.

Ingredients

1 butternut squash (approx. 800 grams – 1kg), peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 litre stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 tablespoon thyme
1 handfuls of baby spinach
Parmesan
olive oil
butter
salt
pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C, and place the diced squash onto a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 – 40 minutes, until just starting to go brown.
  2. In the meantime, in a large wok or frying pan, melt a large knob of butter and add the onions and garlic to the pan. Saute the onions until they start to get soft (about 4 Р5 minutes). 
  3. Add the risotto rice, and stir until the rice starts to turn translucent.
  4. Add 100ml of the stock, and stir until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
  5. Continue to add stock 100ml at a time, stirring continuously (but gently), until all of the liquid has been absorbed before adding the next 100ml.
  6. Add the thyme and stir through.
  7. Reserve the last 200ml of stock.
  8. Remove the squash from the oven, and add 1/2 cup of squash to the reserved stock.
  9. Allow the squash to soak for a minute or two, then mash the squash into the stock.
  10. Stir the squash-stock mixture through the risotto, and allow the liquid to be absorbed.
  11. Grate some Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative) over the risotto, to taste, and stir through.
  12. Add the remaining cubes of butternut squash, and stir through.
  13. Just before serving, add the spinach, and stir to distribute evenly.
  14. Divide into four servings and enjoy.

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