Christmas is off with colours and lights - Butternut squash risotto

I love the build up to Christmas, a magical time of year. I love the colours and the lights and I look forward to family gatherings. Not that we have perfect families and perfect lives but at Christmas everyone seems to try harder. Christmas time is inclusive and we also enjoy sharing it with neighbours and friends.    
A typical Lebanese Christmas meal consists of roast turkey with oriental rice and nuts, a large dish of kibbe next to beautifully rolled vine leaves.  Fattoush and tabboule are a must and for those who do not eat meat there is a fish dish with its tangy tahini. All of this is to be followed by an array of cakes and sweets.
¥esterday we hosted our first pre-Christmas meal. It was a about colours and tastes and red wine featured as the harmoniser. 
The Menu:

Butternut squash risotto with sage and rosemary
Filet of beef with mushrooms with red wine sauce and pastry puffs

Pears in red wine with spices and herbs

 Butternut Squash Risotto

Risotto cooking method: Maria

500 g Carnarolli rice
1.2 litre chicken stock
500 g butternut squash, roasted
40 g Parmesan
20 g butter
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
150 ml white wine
2/3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon sage, chopped
1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped

Serves 6
Cooking time: 30minutes

Preparation time: 15 minutes

  1. Cut the butternut squash in half, sprinkle with salt and a little olive oil. 
  2. Place in a preheated oven at 180 C and roast for 25 minutes or until soft.
  3. Take out and leave to cool before peeling and cutting into cubes.
  4. Chop the onion as fine as possible.
  5. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a deep pan and gently sweat the onion with a sprinkling of salt until it becomes soft and translucent. 
  6. Add garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  7. Add the rice and stir until it is coated with the oil from the pan.
  8. Add wine and leave it to bubble until it is absorbed.
  9. Now add the stock one ladleful at a time stirring all the while.
  10. Approximately 10 minutes into the cooking add the squash and combine. 
  11. Keep adding stock and stirring until the rice is cooked but is still slightly al dente.
  12. Just before the end add the herbs.
  13. Finally remove  from the heat and stir in the cold butter and finish with the Parmesan.
  14. Cover with a tea towel and allow standing for a minute or so before serving.
  15. Serve in individual bowls with a little pumpkin seed oil and a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds.

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