Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6.
Peel the squash and separate the bulbous
seed-bearing section from the slender end.
Chop the slender end into 2cm cubes, toss
in half the oil, season lightly and roast in
the oven, stirring occasionally, until golden
brown on the outside and soft in the
centre, about 30 mins. Cut the bulb in half
and scrape out the seeds with a spoon –
you can keep these to toast in the oven
and sprinkle over salads. Chop the flesh
into 2cm pieces. Warm the vegetable
stock in a small pan, set over a low heat.
Drop in squash and leave to gently poach.
While the squash is roasting, warm a
medium-size frying pan over a gentle
heat. Add the remaining olive oil and half
the butter, followed by the onion. Cover
and cook for 3 mins until the onion turns
translucent. Stir in the celery, garlic, herbs
and a few turns of pepper (no salt at this
stage). Cover again and cook for a further
2 mins. Increase the heat slightly and stir
in the rice. Stir, uncovered, for about 5 mins
– this will help to develop the toasty
aroma of the rice without burning the veg.
Turn up the heat, stir in the wine and let
it bubble away to almost nothing. Reduce
the heat and start adding the stock. Add
one ladle at a time, stirring gently but
constantly during each addition. The idea
is to encourage the rice to absorb the
liquid and soften, but also give up its
starch to thicken the remaining broth.
Don’t stir too aggressively or you will end
up with a pan of mush. When the stock
has been absorbed, it’s time to add the
next ladleful and so on. It will take about
15 mins to reach the final ladle of stock.
By this time the squash in the stock
should have softened. Mash it up with the
remaining stock and stir into the risotto.
Turn off the heat, dot the top of the
risotto with remaining butter and most
of the Parmesan, cover, leave to rest for
2 mins, then stir through and check the
seasoning. Spoon the risotto into shallow
bowls and sprinkle the roasted squash
and leftover Parmesan on top. Serve with
crusty bread and Sautéed spinach (below).