This dish is simple to prepare and packed with goodness - it’s great for midweek training. Butternut squash is not only delicious, it’s also really healthy, containing a variety of nutrients - beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C, potassium and fibre, plus folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, copper, niacin … I could go on. Combined with the the almonds, parmesan and the risotto rice it makes a very tasty, nutritious and sustaining meal.
Ingredients To Serve 4
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 2cm cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 knobs of butter
1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
350g risotto rice – vialone nano or arborio
225ml dry white wine
1¼–1½ litres hot vegetable or chicken stock
Small handful of flaked almonds
1 tbsp maple syrup, diluted with a few drops of water
1 tsp saffron strands (optional)
75g freshly grated parmesan
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
Put the squash on a baking sheet and toss it with 1 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle a tsp of salt and some freshly ground pepper over the top and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until the squash is tender and golden. Stir it once or twice while it is baking.
Heat up the stock in a saucepan so that it is ready to ladle onto the rice.
Melt the butter and remaining olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan and gently sauté the onion until it becomes translucent. Add the garlic and gently sauté for a couple of minutes, without allowing it to brown.
Add the rice and stir until the grains become translucent and glossy.
Add the wine and cook for two minutes until completely absorbed. If you are using saffron, stir it in now and then add the hot stock, a ladle at a time, otherwise just start with the stock. You need to make sure that each ladleful of stock is absorbed by the rice before you add the next one. This should take about 18–20 minutes. You may need more or less stock according to the type of rice and the rate of absorption.
Meanwhile mix the almonds with the maple syrup and water and pop them in the oven for about 5 minutes until golden.
The rice is cooked when it is slightly al dente and looks nice and creamy. Taste it to see if you need more salt (it depends how salty your stock is as to how much you need), turn off the heat, stir in the parmesan and the butternut squash and a generous knob of butter. Let the mixture stand for a couple of minutes.
Serve with the almonds and some fresh parmesan shavings.
This goes really well with a crisp salad topped with crispy bacon/pancetta pieces and a light balsamic dressing.
Nutrition per serving Energy (kcal) 689 Protein (g) 18 Carbohydrate (g) 104 of which sugars (g) 12 Fat (g) 22 of which saturates (g) 8 Salt (g) 1.7 Fibre (g) 4