This Ras-El-Hanout Butternut Squash Risotto is something I’ve been tweaking for a while – the sweetness of the squash works well with the cinnamon in the North African spices. I’m sure a risotto purist would recoil at the sound of it, but they’d soon change their mind when they got a taste.
If you have any left over, use Nigel Slater’s trick of mixing with a beaten egg (or vegan egg replacer) and some grated cheese or nutritional yeast, making little patties of the mixture and frying in frying pan over a medium heat until golden. To be honest, it’s worth making double quantities for the leftovers the next day! This works with any risotto, and it a fantastic trick to have up your sleeve.
If you’re wondering how to replace your eggs with a vegan substitute, check out this handy infographic from No Meat Athlete.
- Half a butternut squash
- 3 tbsp oil
- 3 tbsp ras-el-hanout
- ½ onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- ½ tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
- 300g risotto rice
- Large glug of red wine (optional)
- 700 ml vegetable stock (Marigold Bouillion for preference)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 50g feta (omit for a vegan risotto)
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400 / 200 degrees. Dice butternut squash and toss with 1 tbsp oil and the ras-el-hanout. Spread thinly over a baking tray, giving room for air to circulate and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.
- Meanwhile, fry the onion and garlic in the remaining oil until soft but not golden. Add the rice (and chilli flakes if using), and stir to coat in the sticky mixture. Slug in some red wine if using and try not to get woozy from the vapour.
- Dilute your tomato puree in the vegetable stock, and add a little at a time, stirring frequently. Add more of the pink liquid as it is absorbed by the rice. Keep going until the rice still has a little bite, and the mixture is gooey, a bit like tinned rice pudding (!).
- Add your roasted butternut squash and crumble over the feta, if using.