Butternut Squash, Leek and Blue Cheese Risotto

Posted 27 January 2011 by

Here’s a recipe for butternut squash, leek and blue cheese risotto that will surely warm the cockles on a cold winter’s evening. Nigel Slater has a recipe for pancetta and blue cheese risotto that I made once; it was really tasty but unfortunately so salty that I could only eat a couple of mouthfuls at a time. Here, the butternut squash and leek flavours are both mild and sweet and complement the blue cheese brilliantly. I used Stilton but you could use any blue cheese. Gorgonzola would make it a little more authentically Italian! A squeeze of lemon juice at the end finishes it off nicely.

White bowl full of squash, leek and blue cheese risotto

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 3 cloves of garlic (each cut in half)
  • handful of fresh herbs (eg. rosemary, sage or thyme)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • knob of butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 leeks
  • 400 g risotto rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 1.5 l stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 20 g butter
  • 80 g blue cheese (eg. Stilton or Gorgonzola)

Cut the butternut squash into quarters and score the flesh into chunks (still attached to the skin). Put the squash into a baking tray with the garlic, herbs and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for about half an hour at 180 ° C, until the squash flesh is tender. Leave to cool.

Roasted pieces of butternut squash with garlic and herbs

Put a panful of stock on a low heat. In a large pan heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and a knob of butter. Finely chop the onion and fry it gently (sweating) until soft but not coloured. Thoroughly wash the leeks and finely chop them. Add the leeks to the onions and fry until soft. Put the rice in the pan with the onions and leeks and turn up the heat. Keep stirring and fry the rice for a few minutes until it is translucent around the edges. Pour in a glass of white wine, stir, and turn down the heat. When the wine has been absorbed, add a ladle of stock and stir. Add the stock a ladle-ful at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next. Do this until the rice is slightly al dente; just slightly less cooked than you want to eat it.

Meanwhile, remove the skins from the butternut squash and mash up the flesh. When the risotto is ready, stir in the butternut squash. Crumble in the blue cheese and butter. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Stir well, take it off the heat and cover. Leave it for about 10 minutes and serve. Garnish with more blue cheese or, if you like, the crispy herbs from the roasting tin.

Closeup of butternut squash, leek and blue cheese risotto

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