Vegan risotto with butternut squash and almonds

½ large butternut squash, cut into small chunks, skin left on
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried chili flakes
salt and pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 fat clove garlic, finely chopped
180g arborio risotto rice
the glass of white wine
800ml veg stock
30g vegetarian hard cheese, finely grated
a handful of sage leaves
2 tbsp hazelnuts, roughly chopped
a squeeze of lemon juice


Vegan risotto with butternut squash and almonds

Preheat the oven to 220°C (fan 200°C, gas mark 7).
Put the butternut squash on a baking tray and mix with the olive oil, chili flakes, and some salt and pepper. Spread the squash out into a single layer so that it cooks evenly. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, put the chopped onion and half the butter in a microwaveable bowl. Cover with cling film, then zap on high for 4 minutes to get soft.
Carefully tip the onion with its butter into a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic dove and cook for 1 minute until it smells fragrant, then stir in the risotto rice. Give everything a good stir. Glug in the white wine. When the wine has bubbled away, pour in the veg stock.
Simmer the risotto, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan until most of the stock has been absorbed by the rice. This usually takes 20 minutes. Keep tasting – you want the rice to be creamy with a little bit, but not crunchy.
Come back to your squash, which should be cooked by now. Scrape it into the risotto along with all the good bits from the bottom of the pan and the grated cheese. Stir, then turn down the heat to its lowest to keep warm. Season to taste.
Now for the fancy bit. Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan. Chuck in the sage leaves and hazelnuts and cook for a minute until the sage leaves start to hiss, then squeeze in the lemon juice. Take off the heat.
Spoon the risotto into two bowls, top with the crispy sage leaves and hazelnuts. Drizzle over the butter and serve.


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