When I started thinking of what would make a squash risotto more exciting, I thought of a stuffed oven-roasted squash. That is how this recipe was born, and I quite like how it takes a regular risotto to another level.
This post also features a new vegetable to this blog, the coquina squash. It's similar to the butternut squash by looks and taste, it only has funny stripes along its skin and it tastes very sweet. Once again I have to say that I like this squash very much, but then again, I don't think I have tasted a squash yet that I don't like!
1 coquina squash
1 red pepper
1l vegetable stock
250g arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
80g Sussex Charmer hard cheese
Nettle salt (regular salt will also do)
Cut the coquina squash in half, do not peel it, but remove the seeds. Brush it with olive oil and place into an oven dish and cover it with foil. Roast the squash halves for about one hour at 200C. Occasionally check up on them that the temperature isn't too hot. Our goal is to get a soft squash with a lovely roasted flavour.
While the squash is roasting, start a normal risotto making process. I have described my method often in this blog, simply because I love different vegetarian risotto, and here we go again.
Chop the pepper, onion and garlic and prepare a hot vegetable stock. Heat some olive oil in a pan and sweat the onions first, then the pepper and garlic. After a while add the butter and once it has melted, then add the arborio rice. Stir until the rice becomes translucent and pour the wine into the pan. Let the wine mainly evaporate and then also make some ladles of vegetable stock additions. Let the risotto simmer under the lid, but remember to stir often and to add more vegetable stock when needed.
Grate the cheese. I used the wonderful Sussex Charmer, an English hard cheese, but any vegetarian hard cheese is fine. Add the cheese to the risotto and season it with the parsley, salt and pepper. Also add more white wine or butter if needed.
When your squash is roasted, take it out of the oven and scoop some of the squash out in order to make a squash ”bowl” with approximately 0,5cm edges. Stir these scooped squash pieces into the risotto.
Once the risotto is done al dente, stuff the squash bowls with it and sprinkle some extra cheese on the top. Bake the stuffed squashes at 180C for about 20 minutes.
Serve hot. This is quite a fun dish to eat as you get to eat the bowl as well.