I’m a big fan of risotto because it’s an easy, inexpensive one-pot dish that if you get right, can taste very “gourmet”. This recipe is perfect for dinner parties because it is vegetarian, gluten-free, and can be made vegan and dairy free by omitting the butter and cheese.
I’ve posted about risotto before, a prawn and pea risotto which makes a frequent appearance at dinner time in our household. Once you know how to make a basic risotto, you can mix and match ingredients, creating an almost endless number of different dishes.
As autumn closes in, I like to use squashes in recipes as they give the feeling of ultimate comfort food while still providing lots of nutrients and that all important fibre. I adore chestnuts, for their chewy texture, and the fact that they look like little brains! (Psychology geek alert!)
- 1/2 large butternut squash, chopped into even cubes
- 200g whole chestnuts
- 300g risotto rice
- 1/2 onion or 2 spring onions
- Vegetable stock (be sure to check gluten-free)
- Black pepper
- Mixed herbs
- Butter/cheese (optional)
1. Fry the butternut squash and chopped onion in a saucepan, with a little oil, for about 10 minutes, until softened.
2. Add the risotto rice and stir until fully coated in oil.
3. Make up 500ml (1 pint) of vegetable stock, and add to the pan, a little at a time, while continuously stirring the rice. This process will make the risotto nice and creamy.
4. Boil another 500ml of water and add to the pan, a little at a time. Be sure to taste the rice towards the end – some prefer risotto al dente (with a bit of bite), while others prefer a chewier texture, which will need a bit longer and a bit more water. Stop adding water when you reach the desired consistency!
5. Chop the chestnuts in half and add to the dish. Season with pepper and mixed herbs (or any herb you prefer!). For a really indulgent risotto, add a knob of butter and a little grated cheese. Keep stirring.
6. Once the chestnuts are heated through, give it a good stir and serve! Voila!