Autumn Risotto with Squash and Sage


Serves 4

1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 litre vegetable stock
50g butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
300g risotto rice (Carnaroli or Vialone Nano are the best)
1 star anise
1 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground nutmeg
150ml white wine
120g grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Scatter the diced butternut squash over a baking tray, drizzle with the oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until soft.

Divide the roasted squash in half. Blend one half to a smooth purée and keep the other half as it is to mix through the risotto for added texture.

Meanwhile, put the stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer to keep it hot.

Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan or casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the onion, sage and a pinch of salt and cook for about 10 minutes, until softened and transparent but not coloured.

Add the rice, star anise, lemon zest, turmeric and nutmeg, stirring to coat the rice in the butter. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes, until you start to see the rice turning transparent. Add the wine, stirring to deglaze the pan. Cook gently for 3 to 4 minutes, until the wine has all been absorbed by the rice. Add the hot stock one ladleful at a time, stirring constantly until all the stock has been absorbed before adding the next ladleful. It will take up to 20 minutes to cook the risotto, stirring all the time to release the starch from the rice and give the risotto its deliciously creamy texture. Risotto is meant to be served al dente, so you might not need all the stock.

Stir in the butternut squash purée and roasted cubes and cook for 1 or 2 minutes to warm them through. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and parsley. Serve immediately.