-With Chilli & Cheese-
Risotto is the ultimate comfort food. This one boasts creamy rice studded with nuggets of bacon. Butternut squash brings a hint of sweetness and the chilli adds just the right amount of heat. Don’t forget a squeeze of lemon juice to bring everything together!
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Preheat your oven to 200°C. Halve the butternut squash lengthways and scoop out the seeds (no need to peel). Chop it into roughly 1cm cubes. Put on a baking tray and drizzle over a little oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Pop on the top shelf of your oven and roast for 25-30 mins. Turn halfway through cooking.
Halve, peel and chop the onion into roughly ½cm pieces. Roughly chop the parsley (stalks and all). Halve the red chilli lengthways, scrape out the seeds and finely chop. Peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press). Slice the streaky bacon into 1cm wide strips (use scissors for this if you like – it’s much easier!). Grate the parmesan cheese.
Bring a large saucepan of water (amount specified in the ingredient list) to the boil. Add the vegetable stock pot and stir to dissolve. Put half the butter and a drizzle of oil in another large saucepan on medium heat. Add the onion and bacon. Cook until the onion is soft and the bacon browned, 5 mins. Add the garlic and the chilli. Cook for 1 minute more. TIP: Only add a little chilli if you don’t like things too spicy!
Add the rice to the bacon and onion. Stir to ensure it is coated in butter and oil. Cook for 1-2 mins. Add a ladleful of the stock and stir. Once the rice has absorbed the stock, add another ladleful and continue to stir. Continue adding stock and stirring regularly, until all the stock has been absorbed by the rice. This should take 20-25 mins.
The risotto is ready when the rice is ‘al dente’.tTIP: ‘Al dente’ simply means the rice is cooked through but has a tiny bit of firmness left in the middle. Once ready, remove from the heat. Add the butternut squash along with three-quarters of the parmesan, the remaining butter and three-quarters of the parsley. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, taste and add more lemon juice, salt and black pepper if necessary.
Serve the risotto in bowls with the rest of the parsley and parmesan sprinkled over the top. Enjoy!
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