Thursday, 4 December 2014

Butternut Squash, Sage and Crispy Bacon Risotto

Butternut Squash, Sage and Crispy Bacon Risotto

I use the term 'comfort food' a lot, it's probably one of the only foodie terms I do use a lot... and if you don't like it you can bugger off! ;)

But this is comfort food, when I think butternut squash I just think of autumn turning into winter, cold, wet, don't want to stick your head out the door weather... or as we in Ireland call it 'everyday'! Lets face it, it is sometimes hard to notice one season roll into the next here so comfort food is always on the menu. Butternut squash is a great versatile vegetable, one I neglected to grow this year but will definitely be back on the plot next year. It is a very 'meaty' vegetable and can be used like the star of the show or as a backing dancer... something to fill up the stage with. (now you do know I'm not condoning setting up a stage production with vegetables... that's just wrong... what the hell is the matter with you??!!)

 Anyway... I'm drifting here... the other great advantage with butternut squash is that it will last for ages without going spoiled. I have bought one many's a time and overlooked it or just not gotten around to using it for 4, 5, 6 weeks and still it is as fresh as a daisy when I eventually do use it, the tough outer skin protects it from going spoiled.

Butternut squash and sage work great together, sage and pork are like best buds, combine the 3 along with the creaminess of a risotto and its a match worth trying. I have always said that risotto's are not as hard as most people make them out to be and again, like always, do the simple things right... and you won't go wrong.

Serves 4:
200g Arborio rice
1 medium butternut squash
2 shallots diced
2 cloves of garlic diced
A handful of bacon lardons
12 leaves of sage chopped-8 more whole
700ml chicken stock
1 tablespoon of low-fat soft cheese
Low fat spray
Crushed black pepper

  • Peel, de-seed and cube the butternut squash carefully into small bite sized pieces.
  • Spray some low fat oil into a large saucepan and gently fry off the shallots and garlic for 2 mins. Add in the chopped sage and fry off for a further 2 mins.
  • Pour in the rice and stir around for a minute to gently toast then add the cubed squash, to this add a ladle and a half of the stock. Stir around frequently.
  • When this has absorbed pour in another ladle of stock, continue adding the stock ladle by ladle, each time its fully absorbed, until all the stock is used up.
  • In the meantime on a hot pan spray some low fat spray and add the 8 whole sage leaves, fry them off on both sides and set aside. On the same pan spray again and add the bacon lardons, fry on a high heat until they crisp right up. remove them onto kitchen paper to dry off.
  • When the stock is all absorbed in the risotto, remove it off the heat and stir in the low fat cream cheese, season with freshly crushed black pepper and divide out into bowls and top with the crispy bacon lardons and a few crispy sage leaves.


  1. A very nutritious recipe - thank you for sharing!

    John Mulry


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