Due to bad planning and very little on offer in the local supermarket we had roast chicken in some form for practically every meal this weekend. This meant about twenty gallons of stock wanted my attention last night, so a risotto it was.

I was so tired and away with the fairies last week when we were shooting that I ate anything that was put in front of me. Majoritively carrot cake, flapjacks and Guylian chocolate sea shell truffles. Very tasty but probably not that nutritionally balanced... So this week Chaz and I are on a health kick. Not that he knows it yet. Not one of those 'only eat cabbage soup' diets or anything. Just healthy, wholesome, lots of green leafy veg, minimal red meat...

Last night I made a butternut squash, spinach, parsley and chard risotto. With a teeny tiny bit of bacon to keep Chaz happy. Mondays are bad enough already he wouldn't know what had hit him if I just produced a huge plate of vegetables.

It's very simple. Start as if you're making a normal risotto. Chop up some butternut squash - sweet potato would work just as well too. Put it on a baking tray with some salt and pepper and drizzle of olive oil and cook for half an hour.

Meanwhile, heat the stock.

In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and butter, add the onions and garlic and fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When they've softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring.

Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, constantly stirring and allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes.

Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well.

Throw in a few handfuls of raw baby spinach, the cooked bacon and the chard and stir it all in. Put the lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes.

Just before you're ready to eat it, add the squash on top, some chopped parsley and a bit more Parmesan.

Bon Apetit!



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