Squash risotto with hazelnuts & salsiccia di Verduno

(serves 2 | 30 minutes | medium)

Squash season is in full swing and besides being a delicious ingredient (if chosen correctly) it is also extremely versatile. Squash can be transformed into soup, cakes, pancakes, pasta sauces, gnocchi and so much more. This simple risotto recipe is a great alternative to pasta and doesn’t take too long to prepare. You can jazz it up by adding hazelnut granella and raw Verduno sausage. Should you not be able to source the two ingredients, you can substitute them with spicy sausage, chopped walnuts and so much more! 

1 cup grated squash – 2 tablespoons hazelnut granella – 50g verduno sausage – 140g arborio or carnaroli rice – ½ a leek, finely diced – 740ml boiling broth (roughly) – 20g butter – a handful of goat’s cheese

  1. Toast the rice in a deep pot over a medium-high flame until the grains are too hot to hold between your fingers. Pour in a couple of ladeles of boiling broth and mix well. Repeat this until the rice is half cooked. 
  2. In the meantime, pour a few lugs of olive oil in a non-stick pan and heat over a medium flame. Add the diced leek, let it soften and then add the grated squash. Cook until soft and cooked through then blend, adding a few tablespoons of broth if necessary. 
  3. When the rice is halfway cooked, pour in the squash puré (don’t add it all at the same time in case it is too much). Keep cooking the rice until it is al dente, adding more broth if necessary. 
  4. When the grains have reached your desired consistency, remove the pot from the heat and add the butter and handful of goat’s cheese. Mix well and vigorously to “mantecare” the risotto, adjust with salt and pepper. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the juices to settle. 
  5. Divide the risotto between two plates, level out and top with the hazelnuts and the raw Verduno sausage.