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.
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
- 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.
- 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 – 5 minutes).
- Add the risotto rice, and stir until the rice starts to turn translucent.
- Add 100ml of the stock, and stir until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
- 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.
- Add the thyme and stir through.
- Reserve the last 200ml of stock.
- Remove the squash from the oven, and add 1/2 cup of squash to the reserved stock.
- Allow the squash to soak for a minute or two, then mash the squash into the stock.
- Stir the squash-stock mixture through the risotto, and allow the liquid to be absorbed.
- Grate some Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative) over the risotto, to taste, and stir through.
- Add the remaining cubes of butternut squash, and stir through.
- Just before serving, add the spinach, and stir to distribute evenly.
- Divide into four servings and enjoy.