Gav Martell: He’s in the Kitchen


Buttercup Squash Risotto

This risotto may take a little time but it's an autumn flavour you'll never forget

Look, I'm all for cooking for the kids and getting dinner to the table as quickly and as easily as possible. But sometimes, say every 3 years, I get the urge. The urge to labour over a dish and spend a large portion of my day nurturing and caring for it. To have my food be a labour of love. There is no better tasting dish than one you worked for so long. The brisket you smoked for 8 hours. The homemade ketchup you spent a weekend making. The chicken bouillabaisse that took an eternity.

So I've been holding onto this risotto recipe for years waiting for the right time to cook it. Knowing that you can't throw rice in a pot with water and make risotto. You have to watch it, and stir it, and nurture it.

The resulting dish was absolutely delicious. A risotto is creamy and satisfying and fulfilling in a way that only comfort food can. Print this recipe up and hang on to it until the kids are at camp, or watching a movie and then pull it out for a wonderful, food of love experience. Crack open a bottle of your favourite wine and enjoy!

Buttercup Squash Risotto
Serves: 6


1 buttercup squash
7 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper, to taste


 Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a shallow roasting pan or baking sheet. Cut buttercup squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and discard. Place squash cut side down in pan and bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Scoop out flesh and puree in a food processor. 

 In a saucepan over medium heat bring stock to a gentle boil and keep simmering over low heat.

 In a large saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sautee until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and stir until each grain is coated with oil and mostly translucent but with a white dot in the middle, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until completely absorbed.

 Add simmering stock one ladle at a time, stirring constantly with each addition until almost completely absorbed. Be sure rice doesn't dry out during this process. Add next ladle as soon as you see the previous one is just about absorbed by the rice. Continue until a few tablespoons are left at the end. Set aside. This process will take about 20 minutes.

 When the rice is almost completely tender and is creamy stir in the squash. Cook to heat, about 30 seconds, remove from heat and stir in the butter and reserved stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.