First of all, I would like to apologise for the terrible photos on this post. Ultimately, I just forgot to take them during cooking, and the lighting was terrible after! Also risotto is quite hard to make look “pretty”. It does taste really good though!
Today’s challenge was to create a meal using all seasonal ingredients. Butternut squash is my absolute favourite autumnal ingredient so that was an obvious starter, and I decided to add fennel to that too. Fennel is something I’ve only recently discovered and it is so good! Raw, it has a slightly aniseedy taste to it, and yet cooked it goes soft and silky and slightly sweet.
I roasted the vegetables in the oven – the butternut squash first for twenty minutes, and added the fennel for the final twenty so it didn’t overcook. Meanwhile I made the risotto, adding the vegetables for the final five minutes so they had time to break down into the rice.
Its such a warm, cosy meal, and perfect for putting you in an autumnal mood!
Butternut Squash & Fennel Risotto
- 1/2 a medium sized butternut squash, diced
- 1 bulb fennel, sliced
- olive oil for roasting
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 180g risotto rice
- 1.25 litre vegetable stock
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1/2 tsp dried coriander
- pinch cayenne pepper
- salt & pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200C/390F
- Put the diced squash in a roasting tin along with salt, pepper, and a couple tbsp oil – enough to just coat the squash cubes.
- Place the squash in the oven for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, remove from the oven and stir through the sliced fennel. Place back in the oven for a further 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the risotto. Fry the onion and garlic in a large pan until softened, and add the herbs and spices.
- Add the rice and fry for 1-2 minutes, until the rice starts to glisten.
- Spoon a ladle of stock into the pan, and stir until the rice absorbs it all.
- Repeat step 6 until the rice is becoming tender and most of the stock is used up.
- Add the roasted squash and fennel into the rice mixture and stir well.
- Continue spooning stock in and stirring until completely cooked.
- Serve on its own or with bread.