food, Recipes

Squash Risotto

Toby Murphy


Annemarie Steenkamp, the chef at Open Door restaurant at Constantia Uitsig, presents three tasty and nutritious winter warmers in the August 2015 issue of House and Leisure - on sale now!

To give you a sneak peek of what you'll find in this month's issue, here is one of the three recipes made with hubbard squash.

Ingredients

for the buttermilk labneh

  • 250ml buttermilk
  • a pinch of salt

for the crispy Parmesan cheese

  • 80g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

for the toasted pumpkin seeds

  • 82g pumpkin seeds
  • 25ml canola oil
  • salt, to taste

for the risotto

  • 130g unsalted butter (cube 80g of it)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 250ml white wine
  • 300g arborio rice
  • 500ml vegetable stock, heated
  • 500g Hubbard squash purée (recipe on page xxx)
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt, to taste
  • 20ml lemon juice
  • fresh herbs, such as parsley, to serve

Method

Prepare the buttermilk labneh the day before. Poor the buttermilk over a muslin cloth that has been tied around a plastic container. Leave it overnight to ensure that you catch all the whey that will drip. The next day remove the muslin carefully, place the think buttermilk in a bowl and add the salt, then set it aside.

To prepare the Parmesan cheese, preheat the oven to 140˚C. Line a baking tray with baking paper, place the cheese on top and bake until it is golden brown. Let cool before breaking it into smaller pieces.

To prepare the hubbard squash purée, turn up the oven to 200˚C. Place the squash, salt and butter on a roasting tray, add the water, and roast for 40 minutes. Transfer the ingredients to a food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth. Set it aside.

Toast the pumpkin seeds by heating the oil in a medium pan, then slowly adding the seeds and toasting them until they turn light brown and start to pop. Transfer the seeds to kitchen towel and season with salt.

To prepare the risotto, melt 50g of the unsalted butter in a pot, then add the onion and cook it until it is translucent. Add the white wine, let it reduce slightly, then add all the rice and mix everything through. Turn down the temperature to low. Slowly add the vegetable stock one ladle at a time, stirring the liquid through until it has been thoroughly absorbed before adding another ladle. Continue until the rice is soft but has a bit of a crunch in the centre, which should take about 10 minutes.

Add 500g hubbard squash purée, the 80g of cubed, unsalted butter, the Parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt and the lemon juice. Stir to ensure the ingredients are well mixed, then do a final tasting to check if more salt is needed. Scoop the risotto into a serving bowl (or hubbard squash halves, with their flesh removed, if you wish to be creative) and garnish it with the labneh, toasted pumpkin seeds, crispy Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.