Recipes Part 4: Butternut Squash Risotto
I thought I would share one of my favourite meat-free recipes, butternut squash risotto. It is not the quickest meal to make (risotto is never a quick option), but it is delicious and nutritious and, best of all, really filling.
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 1 butternut squash (or half if it is particularly large), approximately 300-500g
- 150g arborio risotto rice
- Vegetable stock cube made up with 1/2 litre boiling water
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Grated cheddar or parmesan cheese (optional)
Peel and de-seed the butternut squash and dice into small cubes. Bring to the boil in a pan of water, covered with a lid.
Make up the vegetable stock by adding approximately 1/2 litre of water to the stock cube in a measuring jug and stirring.
Put the olive oil in a pan over a medium/high heat. Add the risotto rice and use a wooden spoon or spatula to move it around the pan - a wok pan is ideal for this as it has a large surface area, but also has high sides for when you add the liquid. Frying the rice in this way first gives it a lovely nutty flavour.
After a couple of minutes, the risotto rice will start to look a little transparent and at this point you can add the vegetable stock - watch out, sometimes the rice spits when you first put the stock in - and allow to boil rapidly whilst stirring.
When the stock has almost been absorbed by the rice, add more liquid, this time, say, 1/3rd of a litre of stock from the butternut squash, together with the butternut squash itself. The butternut squash should, at this point, still be firm, but not hard.
Grind a generous amount of fresh black pepper into the risotto and stir.
Continue cooking the rice and squash, over a medium to high heat, stirring continuously and adding extra stock from the butternut squash, or boiling water once that has all been used, each time the liquid has all been absorbed. Keep doing this until the rice is cooked through and the butternut squash is soft, but not mushy.
Everyone has a different idea of the ideal texture of risotto, but I like mine to still retain some moisture, but without being wet.
Add grated cheddar or parmesan cheese at the end, just before serving, if you wish. A little bit more ground black pepper is usually a nice finish to the dish too.
I like this meal on its own, but it is also nice served with garlic bread or a green side salad.
If made with 500g of butternut squash between 2 people, before the addition of cheese, this recipe contains approximately 434 calories, 9g of fat, 8g of protein and 75g of carbohydrates per portion. It also provides approximately 530% of your daily vitamin A requirements, 88% of your daily vitamin C requirements, 13% of your daily calcium requirements and 10% of your daily iron requirements per portion.