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Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto - Somerset Foodie - Ingredients to inspire

As the days become shorter and summer drifts into autumn, comfort food seems to take centre-stage and there is nothing more comforting than a seriously tasty bowl of risotto. Squash vegetables start coming into season at this time of year and they are perfect for risotto, it's a great way to show off their sweet, nutty flavour.

It's fairly straightforward making a risotto but there are a few things you can do to take your risotto-making skills to the next level.  Your choice of rice is key:  Arborio is an obvious choice but in Italy, Carnaroli rice is the king for risotto. It has a higher starch content than Arborio which gives your risotto a creamier finish. The slightly longer grains are also firmer than Arborio, they will still soften to a lovely texture, but they are harder to overcook. Carnaroli is more expensive, but your reward will be a wonderfully creamy risotto with a beautiful texture.

The stock you use to cook the rice in is also pretty important, it gives the risotto body and depth of flavour and must be really tasty. If you don't have time to make your own stock from scratch, our range of stocks are a really good alternative. Use roughly 4½ parts stock to 1 part rice. Always add the stock one ladle at a time and make sure it's on a gentle simmer before you add it - cold stock would cool everything down and take an age for your rice to cook.

To make your risotto rich, creamy and velvety, it's important to keep stirring. There are recipes out there for the 'no-stir risotto' - ignore them, there is no substitute to stirring. I am also never shy when it comes to butter and cheese, this is comfort food, not health food.

This recipe for butternut squash and sage risotto is fantastic, it's really simple with only a few ingredients and I'm sure you'll love it.

Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto
Serves 3-4
320g Carnaroli rice
1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced into ¾'' cubes
1 large white onion, finely diced
2 sticks of celery, washed and finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced
1 large glass of white wine
2¼ litres of good stock (chicken or veg)
8 sage leaves, finely chopped
100g unsalted butter
100g Grana Padano cheese, finely grated
Black pepper
Pinch of salt
A splash of extra virgin olive oil
A small sprig of flat leaf parsley (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 200°C. Dice up the onions, celery, garlic and butternut squash. Set to one side.

2. Heat up your stock to a simmer.

3. Heat up a large cast iron casserole on a medium heat and melt 30g of the butter with a splash of olive oil. Fry the onions and celery for around 5 minutes until soft, then add in the garlic and fry for a further 3 minutes.

4. Tip your rice in with the onions and coat with the buttery, oniony mixture. Cook for another minute.

5. Tip in the glass of wine and let it bubble away until it's almost all evaporated, keep stirring. Now start adding the stock, one ladle at a time. Keep stirring.

4. Meanwhile, season the butternut squash with a little salt and pepper, drizzle over some oil and roast for around 15 minutes.

5. The rice will take around 15-20 minutes to cook, this time does vary depending on the pot you use and the temperature everything is at. But after 15 minutes, start checking the rice for tenderness.

6. Once the butternut has cooked through, add it to the risotto for the last few minutes of rice cooking, along with the sage.

7. Once the rice has reached optimum tenderness, turn off the heat. Stir in the remaining butter along with the cheese and leave it to rest for a few minutes.

8. Serve with a scattering of fresh parsley, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a twist of black pepper and a final grating of Grana Padano cheese. For absolute luxury, drizzle with a little aged balsamic vinegar.

Foodies - if you cook this at home don't forget to review this recipe below - and post on your social feeds tagging us too! Enjoy. Ben 

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