Beautiful creamy fall risotto with lots of flavor
Quite truthfully, I always thought squash was a somewhat useless vegetable, because when you cook it it doesn’t add much flavor. And then I baked it and realized I had been wrong all along! I rubbed the squash with cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and salt and left it in the oven until it was totally soft and some parts had even become a little crispy. To be honest, when I took it out of the oven it smelled so delicious that I couldn’t help but try some of the squash. Bottom line: I ate a lot of it! (therefore the amount of squash that went into the risotto is a rough estimate) 😉 The baked squash gives this risotto a really nice sweet flavor with a hint of cinnamon which just works very well with the goat cheese. Add a little bit of lemon zest for freshness and crispy sage leaves for texture and you have a beautiful warm fall risotto.
1kg butternut squash, quartered, seeds removed
1l vegetable stock
300g risotto rice
1 log of goat cheese (200g), cut into cubes
300ml dry white wine
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 dried chilies, crumbled
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
zest of one lemon
1 hand full freshly grated parmesan
1 knob of butter
a bunch of fresh sage, leaves picked
olive oil extra vergine
1. Preheat your oven to 200°C.
2. Rub the your quartered squash generously with cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and a bit of salt and olive oil. Place on a baking tray and bake it in the oven for about 45 minutes until soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool off for a bit.
3. Cut the squash into cubes and remove the flesh from the skin. Note that the squash will be pretty mushy, so you won’t get perfect cubes out of it, but the squash’s consistency will also add the the creaminess of the risotto.
3. Heat a lug of olive oil and gently fry the chopped garlic and onion at low heat until they have softened. Add the rice and turn up the heat. Fry the rice stirring continuously until it is somewhat translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring.
4. Once the wine has been absorbed, add the stock, laddle by laddle. Turn down the heat and let the risotto simmer, stirring frequently. Making risotto takes time, so be patient and make sure the stock has been absorbed before you add more stock. Also, you might not need all the stock, just try if the rice is cooked through already from time to time.
5. Once the rice has the perfect consistency, first add the squash and mix well. Then stir in parmesan, butter and chili. Last, add the goat cheese and leave to melt for a minute or so. Season to taste with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and let it rest for a few minute with a lid on top.
6. Heat a knob of butter in a small pan and fry the sage leaves until crispy (but not burnt).
7. Right before serving, top the risotto with grated lemon zest and sprinkle with the crispy sage leaves. Eat while it’s still hot and enjoy the beautiful flavors and texture!