The first time I had a butternut squash risotto was in a restaurant, I loved it so much that I wanted to try and make myself. I looked for recipes and tried different things, but eventually I like simple and tasty food.
You start this recipe by simply roasting the butternut squash. Some supermarkets sell already prepared squash, so if you do not have a lot of time to cook: no excuses- just throw the diced squash in the oven. If you are working with a whole squash, peel and cut into cubes.
There is no need to throw the seeds out! Roast them as well and use it later as a topping in salads, granolas or other dishes.
Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the squash, season with pepper, herbs de Provence and chili flakes, and roast for about 30 mins on 200 degree celsius.
Once the squash starts to get soft, you can start preparing the risotto. This starts by peeling and slicing the onion in small pieces. Heat up some butter in the pan and add the onions. Once the onions are soft, add the risotto rice. The rice needs to have a layer of butter, meaning it has to look a bit ‘shiny’. This does not mean that you have to add a huge spoon of extra butter, just pay attention to how the rice looks. I personally do not like to use loads of butter in my cooking because I feel like too much of it is so unhealthy and adds a lot of unnecessary fat and calories to a meal. Give the rice and onion mix a little stir, and start adding vegetable stock.
Now, risotto is actually really easy to make, you just have to pay attention to it. With risotto you cannot just put the rice on and walk away: you have to keep a close eye on it and carefully stir when necessary.
Gently add little bits of stock and stir, so the rice absorbs the stock. Once the stock is almost completely soaked up by the rice, add more. Keep repeating this process until the rice is cooked- it therefore is important to try the rice and test if it is almost done or not.
When the risotto is almost done, add the cheese so it can melt in the rice.
When the squash has roasted for 30 minutes, get it out of the oven. Mash up the biggest part of it, leave a little for garnish. Add the mashed squash to the risotto and mix. Add the cheese and season with pepper. Grab some bowls, serve the risotto and add some freshly roasted squash on top.
Because I puree the squash, I think this recipe would be suitable for kids as well because you almost do not see the vegetables.
Note: Parmesan cheese is not vegetarian, some vegetarians still eat it- others don’t. There are plenty of vegetarian parmesan cheeses in the supermarket so keep an eye out on the ‘suitable for vegetarians’ sticker.