As the winter draws in I find myself looking for heart warming, earthy, comforting recipes. Yes, its time to drag out your winter woolies, slip on your old aran cardigan (as I have done/doing as we speak) and tuck into a wholesome bowl of autumn goodness.
Nothing says fall like Butternut squash. It is a particular favourite of mine as it is such a versatile vegetable, mash it, stuff it, bake it or blend it, you cannot go far wrong, it works so well in many dishes and is a definite staple vegetable in my store cupboard.
For lunch today I whipped myself and Dave up a Fennel and Butternut Squash Vegan risotto. This dish does not contain any dairy, however for those that wish to have it, include goats cheese to scatter over the top at the point of serving, or parmesan cheese to stir through before serving if you wish. This dish has all the elements to warm the cockles and was the perfect little dish to lift the spirits on this very cold autumnal day.
This particular recipe serves 4-6 (depending on portion sizes) and takes approx 40 mins to cook.
What do I need?
- 1 x Butternut squash
- 1 x brown onion
- 1/2 x fresh fennel bulb
- 1 x carrot
- 1 x clove of garlic
- 2 cups of Risotto Rice (Arborio Rice)
- 1 x Cup of Dry white wine
- 6-8 Cups of Vegetable stock
- 1 x bunch of basil leaves
- 2 x heaped table spoons of Sundried Tomato paste ( I made my fresh simply by blitzing a handful of sundried tomatoes and their oil in a blender with a bunch of basil leaves add little more olive oil if needed)
- Salt and Pepper to taste.
What do I do?
- Boil your kettle.
- Turn your oven to 180C and peel and chop your butternut squash into 1/4 cubes.
- Cover a baking tray with your chopped squash and lightly coat with olive oil, sprinkle over salt and pepper and put in the oven for 30-40mins depending on the strength of your oven.
- Put a large non stick pot or frying pan on medium heat, add a glug of olive oil.
- Add vegetable stock and boiling water to a separate pan and turn the heat down low so that the stock is gently bubbling away.
- Add your onion, fennel and carrot to the food processor and blitz up the veg until you get a nice paste like consistency.
- Spoon out your blitzed veg into your large non stick pan and let it fry off or 1 min.
- Add your glass of white wine stir for 1 min.
- Add your Risotto Rice and stir about for 1 min until all the grains of rice are glossy and lightly coated, turn the pan down to low to medium.
- Add in one crushed clove of garlic.
- Now spoon your vegetable stock one ladle full at a time into the rice , making sure each spoonful is fully absorbed by the rice before spooning in the next spoonful, keep stirring your rice mix between each ladle full, repeat the process until all stock absorbed continue to stir and taste as you go so that you know when the rice is fully cooked (should take about 30 -40 mins depending, you many not use all your stock)
- After 30 -35mins take out your butternut squash check that it is cooked through, it should be soft in the middle. Add squash into the risotto.
- Taste your risotto which should have fluffed up completely and add in the 2 heaped table spoons of sundried tomato paste and stir through.
- Add in salt and pepper to taste if needed.
- Roughly chop fresh basil leaves and scatter lightly thorough risotto.
- Serve immediately with glass of chilled white wine.
(Photographs by: David McClelland)