Meat Free Monday

Image: Good Food


I love a creamy risotto and this one makes good use of one of my favourite comfort foods- butternut squash. Butternut squash is a nutritious food option that is filling and sweet. It has  a high amount of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene.  Other nutrients include Vitamin C, manganese, calcium, potassium and magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acid, vitamins B1, B6 and B3 (niacin).  It partners beautifully with sage in this dish – a herb that has been around for thousands of years and which was not only used in cooking but also as a popular medicine. In fact, the word sage derives from the Latin “salvare”, which means to heal or to save.   

Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto   


  • 1kg butternut squash , peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • bunch sage , leaves picked, half roughly chopped, half left whole
  • 1½ l vegetable stock
  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion , finely chopped
  • 300g risotto rice (I use arborio)
  • 1 small glass white wine
  • 50g parmesan , finely grated
  • Method   

    1. Before you make the risotto, heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Toss the squash in 1 tbsp oil together with the chopped sage. Scatter into a shallow roasting tin and roast for 30 mins until it is brown and soft.
    2. While the squash is roasting, prepare the risotto. Bring the stock to the boil and keep on a low simmer. In a separate pan, melt half the butter over a medium heat. Stir in the onions and sweat gently for 8-10 mins until soft but not coloured, stirring occasionally. Stir the rice into the onions until completely coated in the butter, then stir continuously until the rice is shiny and the edges of the grain start to look transparent.
    3. Pour in the wine and simmer until totally evaporated. Add the stock, a ladleful at a time and stirring the rice over a low heat for 25-30 mins, until the rice is cooked al dente (with a slightly firm, starchy bite in the middle). The risotto should be creamy and slightly soupy. When you draw a wooden spoon through it, there should be a wake that holds for a few moments but not longer.
    4. At the same time, gently fry the whole sage leaves in a little olive oil until crisp, then set aside on kitchen paper. When the squash is cooked, mash half of it to a rough purée and leave half whole. When the risotto is just done, stir though the purée, then add the cheese and butter and leave to rest for a few mins. Serve the risotto scattered with the whole chunks of squash and the crisp sage leaves.

    Recipe: Good Food Magazine