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Butternut squash risotto

If you are lucky enough to have space for your friends to sit with you while you cook, this is an excellent recipe to cook when you have a friend over as you can chat while you stir.  If you don't have the space and you like to chat, do not attempt this in company as you will get frustrated that you are not socialising and this is likely to sour the cooking.  Similarly, do not cook while children or partners are whining as you will not be able to concentrate on it properly.  Although on the other hand, concentrating on the stirring might take your mind off the whining. I'll leave it to you to decide.
  • butternut squash - all or half, depending on how squashy you want your risotto and how large the squash is.  Any left over could be cut up and stored in the fridge to put into a stew or a soup 

  • 5 cloves garlic or more if you have it and fancy it - leave in skin 

  • half onion, chopped finely 

  • risotto rice - enough for the number of bellies you are filling

  • vegetable or chicken stock - a pint should do it, but get ready for more in case you run out 

  • large splash of white wine, sherry or vermouth if you wish 

  • blue cheese - I don't tend to buy this specially for the recipe.  I usually cook this risotto when I have some old blue cheese hanging around that does not look nice enough to have on cheese biscuits 

  • a couple of tbsp of toasted pine nuts 

  1. First of all peel the squash and scoop out the insides. Chop into bite size chunks. Put the chunks of squash and the cloves of garlic in a roasting tray, season and coat in olive oil. 

  2. Roast on high until the squash is cooked and browning nicely, but not burnt. 

  3. Meanwhile, gently fry the onion in a little olive oil. I think it is good to chop the onion finely so that it does not take over the small grains of rice.  

  4. Before the onion browns too much, add enough risotto rice for the people you are feeding.  Coat well in the oil and onion.  

  5. If you are going to use alcohol, now is the time to add a good splash of it and have the hob on high to help evaporate it.  Do not do what I did once and add so much that the risotto was inedible, even by The Naughty Knight who once emptied all the dregs of champagne from people's flutes at a wedding.  

  6. Slowly add the stock ladle by ladle, stirring frequently and allowing each ladle to be absorbed by the rice.  Continue until the rice is tender but with a slight bite.  

  7. Take off the heat and cover with a lid. By now the squash should be cooked. Squeeze the gorgeous creamy garlic out of the peel and into the squash, discarding the peel. Crumble the blue cheese over the squash and put back in oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.

  8. Add the butternut squash, cheese and garlic into the risotto and stir carefully till it is incorporated.  Add toasted pine nuts if wished for.