Butternut squash is for me the quintessential Autumn food, it represents hearty warmth around a warm fire. Pumpkins symbolize halloween but I am British and they mean little to me and although I accept that pumpkins look appetising when raw and their colour is amazing, they actually do not taste all that good. I have been dreaming of a butternut squash risotto for weeks and eventually I came across my first squash of the Winter.
1 kilo of butternut squash
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 shallots, finely minced
3 cups Arborio rice
Fresh vegetable stock
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dill, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Watkins mushroom ketchup
1 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
4 teaspoons pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Peel and dice the butternut squash into largish cubes toss the squash squash in in a bowl with the salt, a tablespoon of olive oil, cumin powder and paprika.Roast for 20 minutes, until slightly browned and softened.
In a mortar and pestle, grind the saffron threads pour over about 1/4 cup of warm water
In a deep saucepan, sauté the minced garlic cloves in the remaining oil until golden. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and the shallots and saute until a pale golden. Add the rice and coat the rice with the butter gently. Add 1 cup of warm stock the mushroom ketchup and the saffron liquid. Stir constantly and add more stock when necessary.
When rice is almost cooked, add the butternut squash, and the rest of the butter. Let it rest for about five minutes. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds and dill over to serve, serve the parmesan seperately.