Thanks to our friend Paul for creating this very tasty recipe. The nutmeg makes it almost like pudding. Paul was a devout vegetarian for many years, before he had his Damascus moment. I believe it happened beside a Weber barbecue in South Africa. He still cooks totally delicious vegetarian food, but normally as an accompaniment to a seared steak.
butter and oil
2 small red onions
1 clove garlic
4 sage leaves, if you have them
250g closed cup mushrooms
250g arborio rice (It will serve about 6 people with this amount)
1 glass white wine or marsala
1 butternut squash
About 1.5 pints hot vegetable stock
parmesan, parsley and freshly ground nutmeg to finish
First, cut your squash into 2″ pieces, leaving the skin on. Drizzle with olive oil and pop in a hot oven (180 – 200 degrees) for about 45 minutes. When it’s soft all through and browning at the edges, take it out of the oven. This can either be done in advance, or while you’re making the risotto.
Now, fry the onions and garlic in the oil/butter mixture and add the mushrooms. Allow to colour slightly, then turn down the heat and throw in the sage leaves, then the arborio rice.
Stir, stir, stir. When all of the butter/oil has disappeared, add the wine/marsala. Stir as before. When the wine has disappeared, stir in about a quarter of a pint of the stock. And so it goes on, adding more stock and stirring and stirring until the rice is finally edible (probably about half an hour later). Be careful not to add too much stock in the final stages, because you don’t want it too soupy. Or maybe you do. It’s still delicious.
Scoop out your butternut squash from its skin and roughly dice the cooked flesh before adding to the pan of risotto. You might not need it all. Warm through if your squash is cold. Add a few tiny knobs of nice butter (choose wisely, as you can really taste it), and about a tablespoon of grated parmesan. Grind in a little fresh nutmeg, not too much though, or it seems to anaesthetise your tastebuds.
Serve garnished with parmesan shavings (again, created with the help of a potato peeler) and fresh parsley. You have to be a better photographer than me to make risotto look as delicious as it tastes, hence the little flourish of rocket leaves in the photo.