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Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto

A simple yet satisfying vegetarian main that gives a basic risotto a warm, autumnal twist. Butternut and sage is a classic combination. My secret? Adding cinnamon and nutmeg to the roasted butternut – it adds warmth, depth of flavour and a slight sweetness.

 

The 3 keys to a delicious risotto are good-quality rice, gradual absorption and occasional stirring. The latter two are what release the creamy starches from the rice. Keeping the heat at a simmer allows you to move the rice like a wave, and release the starch. I’ve used Riso Gallo’s premium quality arborio rice, which is fully sustainable, 100% Italian and in packaging that can be recycled.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Rice and Risotto

Ingredients

Scale

For the roasted butternut squash:

  • 800 g butternut squash, diced into small cubes
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of ground nutmeg

For the risotto:

  • 1.5 litre good-quality vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 g fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 500 g carnaroli or arborio rice
  • 150 ml dry white wine
  • 100 g grana padano or parmigiano reggiano

Instructions

  1. Heat your oven to 220℃.
  2. Place the diced butternut squash in a large roasting tin. Drizzle with olive and toss to coat. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg, season generously with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and toss to coat. Roast, tossing occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until soft in the centre and beginning to caramelise on the outside. Mash half of the butternut and set aside.
  3. Bring the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cover; you want to keep the stock warm over very low heat.
  4. Heat a generous glug of extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and softened, around 7 to 10 minutes. You want the onion to cook gently without taking on any colour.
  5. Add the garlic and sage and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly so they don’t burn.
  6. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the grains begin to look slightly translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the pan is almost dry, 1 to 2 mins.
  8. Add one ladleful of the stock and cook, stirring almost constantly, until the stock is fully absorbed. Add another ladleful of stock and cook, stirring almost constantly, until the stock is fully absorbed. Repeat this process until you’ve gone through half of the stock.
  9. Add the mashed butternut to the risotto. Continue adding the stock one ladleful at a time, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is cooked – it should be tender with a slight bite.
  10. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the cheese and remaining butternut and stir well to combine. Cover the saucepan and allow the risotto to sit for 3 to 5 minutes before serving. You might be tempted to skip this step but don’t! This is when the risotto becomes deliciously creamy.
  11. Taste and season with salt and freshly-ground black pepper (to taste) and serve. Enjoy!

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