Another tasty classic – originally taught to me by a friend of mine as just a squash risotto, I’ve added the mushrooms cos I love mushroom risotto too. This one takes around 1 & 1/2 hours to make, and requires constant stirring, so do plan ahead! It’s a great meal to impress your friends, but will require you to stay in the kitchen while you make it.
If you want to make it more mushroom-y, then get some dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrate them, and add the mushrooms and the juice to the mix while cooking it as well.
1/2 carton of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed (if you love garlic like I do, feel free to add in an extra clove)
1) Heat your oven to 180 celcius, and place the butternut squash chunks in a roasting pan, and toss with olive oil and the fresh thyme leaves. Pop the squash in the oven, turn down to around 150 and check regularly to toss and ensure the oven is not too hot. You want to slow-roast your squash on a low-ish heat so that it’s soft and gooey, but not too crispy on the outside. When it’s done, set the squash to one side.
2) In a large pan, melt the butter with a little olive oil, and toss in your chopped onions and garlic. Sautee on a low heat for around 15 mins until they are really soft and gooey, but without burning or crisping them.
3) Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and cook for another 5-10 mins until softened.
4) Add in the risotto rice, and mix thoroughly, so that the rice is coated in butter. Then add in the white wine and turn the heat up high, allowing the liquid to boil hard and reduce by about half. This should boil off most of the alcohol while leaving behind plenty of flavour. I don’t usually measure the wine, but just glug it in from the bottle, so feel free to add more! Make sure you stir it constantly so the rice doesn’t burn. If your heat is too low, the rice will absorb the wine before the alcohol boils off, which can lead to a stronger “wine flavour”, so do turn your heat up for a few minutes to boil it off.
5) Turn the heat down, and add in the stock slowly – around 150 mls at a time, stirring and letting the rice absorb the liquid almost completely before adding the next glug of stock. You may not need all of the stock, so keep an eye on it – once the rice is mostly cooked don’t add too much more liquid as you don’t want it to be too sloppy/runny.
6) The constant stirring should help the rice to break down a bit and release the carbs – making the sauce thick and gooey, as risotto ought to be. Once your rice is cooked to your liking, and the right consistency, stir in the roasted squash, letting it melt into the rice a little, so that you should have some chunks, and some bits disintegrated and mixed in with the rice to add flavour.
7) Lastly, add in the parmesan – I like LOADS of cheese in my risotto, but it can overpower the other flavours, so add cheese to taste.
8) Serve with a simple rocket salad on the side of the plate, and if you like, a drizzle of balsamic on the salad.