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Squash, orange & chocolate risotto

I must admit that I have been holding back from buying squash this autumn because I am still in a summer mood.

Though I finally convinced myself to get one with the idea that the first squash recipe of the season had to be special. When I say special, I mean one of those weird but incredible combinations of flavours that only my wicked foodie mind is capable of creating!

I must say we all got caught by surprise by the amazing taste of this risotto, made with squash, ça va sans dire, orange and chocolate.

The orange adds a delicate flavour and smell, which combines well with the sweetness of the squash and with the aftertaste of dark chocolate and fresh rosemary.

Say no more Carmen!

INGREDIENTS (for 4 people, or a big batch):

430g arborio rice

1 butternut squash

4 garlic cloves

Fresh rosemary

Salt to taste

Olive oil for cooking

1 espresso cup of white wine

1.5l water

½ orange, juice and zest

1 knob of vegan butter

2 chocolate squares


Cut the squash lengthways. Remove the seeds and place it in a baking tray. Season it with rosemary, two garlic cloves, salt and olive oil. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for about one hour at 200°C.

Once the squash is ready and soft, blend it and set the purée aside.

Finely dice two garlic cloves (or leave them whole to remove later) and stir-fry them in a big pan with some olive oil. Add the rice and toast for a couple of minutes.

Pour the wine and let it evaporate whilst stirring.

Cook the risotto adding every now and then hot, salty water (or vegetable stock*) and stirring constantly.

Halfway through, add the squash purée and combine it well. Pour the orange juice, the zest and keep mixing. To finish with, add the vegan butter.

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh rosemary and grated dark chocolate.

Zero-waste top tips:

-Do not throw away the seeds: remove the flesh, rinse, season with your favourite spices and bake at 180°C for about ten minutes. You will get a super crunchy and nourishing snack!

-Did you know that the butternut squash skin, once baked, can be eaten? It has a delicious nutty taste, which reminds me of chestnuts. If you want to bring it to the next level, slice it into strips, spice it up and bake in the oven with the fan on.

*I do not recommend using veggie stock for this recipe as otherwise it may cover the smell and flavour of the orange. Hot, salty water will work perfectly fine!

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