A lovely recipe plagiarised from my friend Federica (who is from Romanziol, near San Doná di Piave).
Ingredients (serves 2-3 hungry people)
1 medium-sized butternut squash (peeled, cleaned from seeds and diced)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
Fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 cups (or glasses) of arborio rice or pudding rice*
Vegetable stock (roughly double the quantity of the rice)
A splash of white wine
Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
*It may be anathema to my Italian friends, but I have been using pudding rice instead. This is for two reasons: firstly, it’s a nice, thick grain rice and does a similar job. Secondly, it’s infinitely cheaper and you can get it anywhere in the UK. Arborio is a bit of a middle class thing, therefore expensive, right up Nigella’s alley.
Put the diced squash in a saucepan with boiling water and boil for about 30 minutes or until nicely cooked. Drain and put aside. In the meantime…
Lightly fry the garlic and onions in the olive oil until beautifully translucent (or cooked as I like to call it). Add a bit of white wine and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and give it a stir for a few seconds until it’s nicely coated with the juices. Add the stock until the rice is covered, bring to the boil and then allow to simmer. Add your seasoning and keep an eye on it. When it’s beginning to absorb most of the stock, check if it’s sufficiently cooked. If not, add more stock until you’re happy with the rice. When you think it’s cooked, take it off the fire and cover it for 5 minutes, allowing the rice to absorb all the juice. Add the squash and parsley and serve it topped with parmesan cheese. If you want, you can serve it with natural set yoghurt instead, turning it from a risotto to a Turkish pilaf. Enjoy!