Butternut Squash and Bacon Risotto


Butternut Squash and Bacon Risotto

Swap the bacon for sundried tomatoes to make a veggie version
Limahl Asmall

"This is the risotto recipe that converted me from a vegetarian at aged 19 to a meat eater. I ate this meal one lunch break whilst working at the Queen Street Cafe in Edinburgh. I thought I was eating a meat free dish, but as it turns out, the amazing flavour comes from the addition of bacon. Also, as it turns out, I love bacon."

Cook Time: 30 mins | Servings: 2 | Difficulty: easy

200g arborio (risotto) rice
1/3 butternut squash
1/2 sweet potato
3 rashers bacon
4 sundried tomatoes
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 chicken stock cube
1 veg stock cube
500 ml boiling water
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp vegetable oil
pinch salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius and boil a full kettle. Remove the skin from the butternut squash and cut the flesh into 2-3 cm cubes. Toss in a mixing bowl with a tbsp olive oil, one minced garlic clove and a good pinch salt and pepper. Bake on a tray for 15-20 minutes until soft.
  2. Meanwhile, finely dice the onion and mince a garlic clove. Place in a large and deep pot over a medium heat along with 1 tbsp butter and ½ a tsp thyme. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir.
  3. Make the stock in a mixing bowl by pouring 1 ½ cups boiling water over a crumbled stock cube. Add ½ a cup stock to the rice and stir until the stock is almost absorbed. Then add another ½ cup. Continue to stir and repeat this process until the rice is glutinous and almost cooked throughout. (approx. 500 ml stock and 15-20 minutes stirring).
  4. Remove the butternut squash from the oven and stir through the rice. Turn the heat off, grate in a ¼ cup parmesan or cheddar (if available) and place a lid on the pot.
  5. Chop the bacon into small pieces. Add a tsp oil to a non-stick frying pan and cook on a medium heat for 4-5 minutes then stir the bacon into the risotto. Taste test. Season with salt and pepper if necessary and enjoy.

grated cheddar or parmesan to taste

Any risotto can be made by gradually adding hot stock to risotto rice. For vegetarians, try roasting mushrooms in garlic, butter and thyme and adding to the pot when the rice is almost ready. If you have parmesan, grate a ¼ cup into the pot at the end of cooking. If not, cheddar is good.

Limahl AsmallLunch, DinnerComment