A fantastic winter recipe of Butternut Squash Risotto with Parma Ham Crisps and Fresh Pesto, It’s easy to make, warming and delicious – in other words, perfect for winter. Recipe serves: 4
1kg butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
3 tbsp olive oil
Bunch of sage, leaves picked , half roughly chopped, half left whole
1 ½ ltr good quality vegetable stock
50g unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
300g risotto rice (Arborio or Carnarolli)
1 small glass dry white wine
50g Parmesan, finely grated
For the pesto:
½ garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
1 handful of basil, roughly torn
55g/2oz fresh Parmesan, finely grated
150ml/1/4 pint olive oil
salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Toss the squash in 1 tbsp oil together with the chopped sage. Scatter into a shallow roasting tin and roast for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
- Bring the stock to the boil and keep on a low simmer. In a separate pan, melt half the butter over a medium heat. Stir in the shallot and cook gently for 8-10 minutes until soft but not coloured, stirring occasionally. Add the rice stirring continuously until the rice is shiny and the edges of the grain start to look transparent.
- Pour in the wine and simmer until totally evaporated. Add the stock, a ladleful at a time, and stir the rice over a low heat for 20 minutes until the rice is cooked al dente (with a slightly firm, starchy bite in the middle). The risotto should be creamy and slightly soupy.
- Gently fry the whole sage leaves in a little olive oil until crisp, then set aside on kitchen paper. When the squash is cooked, mash half of it to a rough purée and leave half whole.
- When the risotto is just done, stir though the purée, then add the cheese and butter and leave to rest for a few minutes. Serve the risotto scattered with the whole chunks of squash, fresh pesto and the crisp sage leaves.
To make the pesto
- Place all the ingredients in a pestle and pound well with the mortar to make a rough paste.
- Season to taste.
- Alternatively, place the ingredients in liquidiser and blend until smooth.