When living in Austria, it was extremely difficult to get hold of produce (not to mention extortionately expensive) when it wasn‘t in season, so I substituted carrots in place of butternut squash to satisfy my cravings on the cold January nights.
1. Before you make the risotto, heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Par boil the carrots until just starting to soften. Toss the carrots in oil together with the chopped sage until coated. Scatter into a shallow roasting tin and roast for 30 mins until they are brown and soft.
2. While the carrots are roasting, prepare the risotto. Bring the stock to the boil and keep on a low simmer. In a separate pan, melt half the butter over a medium heat. Stir in the onions and sweat gently for 8-10 mins until soft but not coloured, stirring occasionally. Stir the rice into the onions until completely coated in the butter, then stir continuously until the rice is shiny and the edges of the grain start to look transparent.
3. Pour in the wine and simmer until totally evaporated. Add the stock, a ladleful at a time and stirring the rice over a low heat for 25-30 mins, until the rice is cooked (with a slightly firm, starchy bite in the middle). The risotto should be creamy and slightly soupy. When you draw a wooden spoon through it, there should be a line that holds for a few seconds.
4. When the carrots are soft, mash half of them to a chunky purée and leave half whole. When the risotto is just done, stir though the purée, then stir in the butter and leave to rest for a few mins. Serve the risotto scattered with the whole chunks of carrots.
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