Saturday, 19 October 2013

Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash, Chanterelles and Bellingham Blue Cheese

I love risottos!

When made with care and attention, using quality ingredients, they are so comforting to eat and so so tasty.

The recipe that I give here is a true celebration of Autumn ingredients and also showcases the wonderful Bellingham Blue Cheese which is made by Peter and Anita Thomas at Glydefarm in Castlebellingham, County Louth.

The cheese which is made from unpasteurized cow's milk is firm in texture but crumbly and grainy on the tongue. It has a strong flavour with a pleasing salty finish. All the milk used to make the cheese comes from Peter and Anita's herd of Fresian cows using raw milk.

Bellingham Blue has won a number of prestigious awards including a Gold Medal at the British Cheese Awards in 2001 and a Silver Medal at the World Cheese Awards in 2008. In 2010, it won the Supreme Champion at the Irish Cheese Awards.

Bellingham Blue is wonderful used in cooking as it imparts a sophisticated flavour, whilst retaining the inherent characteristics of the cheese, without overpowering other flavours.

I crumble small nuggets of the cheese over this risotto just before serving and I love the way it begins to melt into the hot rice, but still retains some bite.

The chanterelles add a lovely earthiness to the risotto and are delicious with the sweetness of the roasted butternut squash, but feel free to use other varieties of mushroom. I particularly like girolles.



3-4 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely diced
250g butternut squash, diced
Sprig of thyme
350g carnaroli or other risotto rice
250ml dry white wine
750ml hot vegetable stock
25g butter
4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
100g small chanterelles, cleaned
100g Bellingham Blue Cheese, crumbled
1 shallot sliced into thin rings
A handful of sage leaves
Salt and pepper to season



1.                  Pre-heat oven to 200C/Fan 180C/gas 6.
2.                  Put the diced butternut squash into an ovenproof dish and drizzle over a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the sprig of thyme and season well. Place in the pre-heated oven and allow to roast while you make the risotto.
3.                  Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pan. Add the diced shallot and cook over a moderate heat. After about 5 minutes, add the rice and stir, ensuring that each grain of rice is coated in the oil.
4.                  Add the white wine and allow evaporate. Then add the stock a ladleful at a time, adding more as it become absorbed by the rice. Keep stirring all the time. It will take about 15minutes for the rice to be sufficiently cooked. You may not need to add all the stock… essentially you want the rice to have slight bite in it but not be undercooked. The risotto should have a gloopy consistency and should not be dry.
5.                  Take the risotto off the heat and add in the butter and grated parmesan and season well. Mix well to incorporate.  
6.                  Meanwhile heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium sized frying pan. When hot add the chanterelles and sauté quickly. Add the shallot rings and sage and allow cook until they are crispy, about a further minute. Remove from heat and drain on kitchen paper.
7.                  Take the roasted butternut squash out of the oven. Mix the chanterelles, roasted butternut squash and blue cheese into the risotto. Spoon into serving bowls and top with the crispy shallot rings and a few crispy sage leaves.

Serves 4.