This is not so much a baked risotto, but a risotto with roasted flavours. I wanted to experiment with some winter ingredients and used roast chestnuts and roast butternut squash.
Chestnuts are not that common in Australia, but are referred to in British and American literature – I thought I was missing out on something exciting. I’m still not sure what all the fuss is about, but they did add a nice texture contrast to the risotto. If you can’t get your hands on chestnuts, or don’t like them, you could use some toasted pine nuts instead. The first time I tried to roast chestnuts, I didn’t realise that there were some tricks to preparing them, and they consequently exploded and splattered all over the inside of my oven. For tips on how to successfully roast chestnuts, refer to this article over at the Healthy Chef blog.
If you have some home-made vegetable stock, feel free to use that instead of the stock powder and hot water. I used a little butter to finish the risotto, and skipped the cheese, but feel free to add some parmesan or other cheese as well as or instead of the butter.
What I was cooking this time last year: Date, Apricot and Walnut Pudding with Caramel Sauce
Roast Butternut Squash and Chestnut Risotto
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 small red onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup of arborio rice
- 250ml white wine
- 500g butternut squash
- 8 chestnuts
- 30 sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
- 1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder (I use vegeta brand)
- hot water from the kettle
- 20g butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Turn the oven on to 200°C.
- Peel the butternut squash and scoop out the seeds. Chop into small 1cm dice.
- Add the diced squash to a baking tray, drizzle over 1 tablespoon of oil and tuck in the two garlic cloves unpeeled.
- Put the squash into the oven to start roasting while you prepare the chestnuts.
- Cut an x into each chestnut top, place them in a baking tray and add to the oven.
- Cook the squash until it is tender, then remove from the oven.
- Cook the chestnuts until they split their shells and are cooked.
- Remove the cooked chestnuts from the oven and wrap them in a tea-towel until they are cool enough to handle.
- Shell the chestnuts.
- Finely chop the red onion.
- Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
- Fry the sage leaves until crisp, then remove from the oil with a slotted spoon. Set aside to use as a garnish at the end of cooking.
- Add the chopped onion to the sage infused oil, cook for a couple of minutes until the onion starts to soften.
- Squeeze the roast garlic cloves into the pan, the soft centers should end up in the pan and you can discard the skins.
- Add the chopped rosemary, vegetable stock powder and rice to the pan, and stir to combine.
- Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the white wine and stir. Keep cooking and stirring occasionally until most of the wine has evaporated.
- Add 1/2 a cup of hot water from the kettle at a time. Keep adding liquid, cooking and stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated and the rice is almost cooked. Taste to test the rice, it should be slightly too firm but almost ready.
- Add the roast squash and stir to combine. Cook for a couple of minutes more until the squash is heated through and the rice is cooked.
- Add the butter and chopped chestnuts and stir to combine.
- Add the salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Sprinkle with the fried sage leaves to serve. Enjoy.
What is your favourite winter ritual? Has this post inspired any new ideas?