It’s nearly the end of the month and the chill of the winter season is upon us. Even though Halloween is only a couple of days away, the shops are groaning with Christmas treats and decorations. It seems to be earlier every year, doesn’t it?
We’ve had rain squalls on and off all day, but I took advantage of a break in the weather to go for a quick walk in the woods to get a bit of fresh air. Home now with the fire on, it’s time for some warming and comforting lunch, and what could be better than that classic of the Italian kitchen, Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto.
To me, a risotto like this is pure comfort food. ‘Risotto alla Zucca e Salvia’ as the Italians call it, with the delicious combination of creamy risotto rice, sweet roasted pumpkin and fragrant sage is a match made in foodie heaven. The popular opinion seems to be that risotto is a bit of a faff to make, but I think that’s not the truth at all. Yes, you need to be in the kitchen and add a ladleful of stock now and there, but on a chilly day like today standing near a warm stove is exactly where I want to be!
Roasting the butternut pumpkin brings out all the natural sweetness in the squash and adds a wonderfully earthy richness to the risotto. Teamed with some sharp and tangy Parmesan cheese and crispy fried sage leaves, this simple meal is filling and satisfying. I’ve given the instructions here to make enough risotto to feed two people, though it is simple enough to double the recipe if there are more mouths to feed.
What is your favourite winter comfort meal? Let me know in the comments below! Stay warm out there and happy cooking. x J
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
- 500g butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- small bunch of sage, leaves only
- 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
- 50g butter
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 200g arborio rice
- 125ml dry white wine
- 50g Parmesan, finely grated
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6 and line an ovenproof dish with baking paper. Put the butternut squash into the prepared dish with the thyme and one tablespoon of the oil. Finely chop half of the sage leaves and add to the dish. Season well with salt and pepper, then roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the stock in a small saucepan until simmering, then keep warm. Heat the remaining oil in a medium frying pan and fry the remaining sage leaves until crisp, then drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Melt half of the butter in the same frying pan and sauté the onion gently for 5-6 minutes until softened but not browned. Stir through the rice and cook, stirring to coat in the butter for 2-3 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan, bring to a simmer and cook until it has evaporated.
- Add the stock to the pan, one ladleful at a time, stirring the rice until each ladleful has nearly evaporated. You don’t have to stand at the pan the whole time, just keep an eye on it and stir regularly. It will take around 25 minutes for all the stock to be used up. Test the rice and if it is cooked with a slight bite to it carry on with the recipe, otherwise add a splash of water and cook a further 5 minutes.
- Use a fork to roughly mash half of the squash, then stir it through the risotto with the Parmesan and remaining butter. Taste and season with pepper if necessary, then serve immediately, topped with the remaining pumpkin and sage leaves.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1142Total Fat: 79gSaturated Fat: 29gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 43gCholesterol: 343mgSodium: 1310mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 9gSugar: 8gProtein: 81g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I make Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto in advance?
I think risotto is best made fresh, as it tends to dry out if cooked and then reheated. You could certainly cut up and prepare the pumpkin in advance if you like.
Can I double the recipe to feed more people?
Absolutely! Double all ingredients.
Do I have to use wine in this recipe? I don’t drink alcohol!
No, you can replace it with water. I would add a teaspoon or so of apple cider vinegar to the water to replace the acidity of the wine.