Pic of Roasted squash, blue cheese and leek risotto with walnuts

Roasted squash, blue cheese and leek risotto with walnuts

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Vegetarian mains

Roasted squash, blue cheese and leek risotto with walnuts

Main Serves 2 45 min
Roasting squash enhances its natural sweetness. Stirring the rice for a couple of minutes before adding liquid opens the grains so they absorb the wine and stock. Leaving the risotto to stand at the end, stirring in the butter and cheese, is known as the 'mantecura' in Italian. Both techniques help to create a traditional creamy risotto. Everyone has their preference as to the texture of the dish, but most will agree it shouldn't be too dry or stiff. Finishing off with toasted walnuts adds a bit of crunch and extra flavour.

Ingredients

  • ½ tbsp bouillon powder
  • 1 butternut squash (or any seasonal squash)
  • oil for roasting and frying
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 leek
  • 25g butter
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 15g thyme
  • 175g risotto rice
  • 100ml white wine
  • 50g walnut pieces
  • 100g Stilton cheese
  • 25g Italian-style hard cheese, grated

Method

Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 30 min
  • Step 1

    Preheat your oven to 190°C/Gas 5. Put the bouillon in a medium saucepan with 1 litre water. Stir and heat to a simmer.
  • Step 2

    Once the pan goes on the hob, peel the squash using a good veg peeler or a sharp knife (a peeler works best). Halve it lengthways, scoop out the seeds, then chop into 1½ - 2cm dice. Squash can vary in size, so if yours is on the large side, just use half to two-thirds. You want a couple of good handfuls.
  • Step 3

    Toss the squash in a baking dish in just enough oil to coat. Season then roast until tender, approx. 20-30 mins. Keep an eye on it and toss halfway through. A little caramelised colour on the squash is a bonus. Remove it from the oven once cooked.
  • Step 4

    Once the squash goes in the oven, trim the leek, halve lengthways and finely shred. Wash it well to remove any grit.
  • Step 5

    Melt half the butter in a heavybased saucepan. Add the leek. Fry it gently for 8 mins, stirring now and then to stop it catching. Add a splash of water if it looks like it might.
  • Step 6

    Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the garlic clove. Pick off enough thyme leaves so you have 1 good tbsp worth. Add the garlic, thyme and risotto rice to the leek. Fry for 2 mins, stirring, until the rice looks slightly translucent. Add the wine. Simmer until absorbed.
  • Step 7

    Gradually add ladles of stock and cook on a simmering boil, stirring often, until the rice is tender with a little bite, approx. 20-25 mins. If you don't use all the stock, that's fine. If the rice needs a little more liquid, just add a splash of water.
  • Step 8

    While the rice cooks, put the walnuts in a dry frying pan. Heat gently for 2-3 mins, turning them now and then, until lightly toasted, transfer to a small bowl.
  • Step 9

    Once the rice is tender, add the squash and remaining butter. Crumble in the Stilton cheese and add half the Italian cheese. Stir gently, leave to stand for 2 mins, then season to taste.
  • Step 10

    Divide between 2 serving bowls and sprinkle with the remaining extra Italian cheese, the walnuts and a few more freshly picked thyme leaves.

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