Squash and blue cheese risotto
- January 2006
- 500g butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into small pieces
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 large sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 15-20 fresh sage leaves
- 350g arborio rice
- 150ml dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
- 125g vegetarian blue cheese
- Put the squash into a large pan. Add half the onion, all the bay and thyme, 1.25 litres cold water and some salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes or until very soft. Drain through a sieve set over a bowl, and reserve the liquid for a stock. Discard the thyme stalks and the bay leaves. Put the squash and onion into a blender with 2 tablespoons of the stock and whizz to a purée. Pour the remaining stock into a pan and bring to the boil, then take off the heat.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy-based pan and fry the sage leaves briefly on each side – they will crisp up as they cool. Drain on kitchen paper. Add the rest of the oil to the pan with the remaining onion. Gently sweat the onion for 10 minutes, until very soft but not coloured.
- Add the rice to the pan and stir well. Increase the heat and stir for 30 seconds, add the wine and stir until it evaporates – about 2 minutes.
- Start adding the liquid stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring until it has been absorbed before you add another ladleful of stock. After about 20 minutes, all the stock will have been absorbed and the rice will be creamy but still have a little bite. Pour in the squash and onion purée and stir until hot. Crumble over two-thirds of the cheese and fold into the rice. Ladle into bowls, crumble over the remaining cheese and serve with a few crisp sage leaves.
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