Butternut Squash and Radicchio Risotto

A recipe from Stephen Markwick

Stephen says that vegetarian recipes are not top of his list, but risottos are – and this is a favourite autumnal recipe similar to ones he enjoyed in Italy. The sweetness of the butternut squash, which is partly added as a purée to deepen the colour, is nicely balanced by the bitterness of the radicchio. The risotto can be cooked ahead of time and stopped just before it’s cooked, so that it can be heated through at the last minute before serving.

Serves 6


  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 head of radicchio
  • 1 small, hot red chilli, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 sprigs of thyme and a sprig of rosemary or sage
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 leek
  • 1 stick celery
  • 50g butter
  • 350g carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • 1 small glass dry white wine
  • 1 litre hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone
  • 25 – 50g freshly grated parmesan cheese plus shavings to garnish
  • Salt & pepper and lemon juice to taste
  • A little chopped parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mk 6. Peel the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler, cut in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Cut half the squash into 1.5cm cubes and the other half into bigger pieces.
  2. Put the pieces on separate trays and scatter with the chopped chillies, garlic, thyme and rosemary or sage. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle over a little oil. Roast the larger squash pieces until soft (about 15 minutes) and the smaller ones for 10-12 minutes, until just done. Liquidise the larger pieces with some of the stock.
  3. Clean, peel and chop the vegetables into fine dice. Heat the remaining oil in a large pan, add the butter, tip in the vegetables and cook gently until soft. Add the rice and a little salt and pepper, stir well to coat the grains with the oil and butter, then turn up the heat a bit and cook for a minute or so.
  4. Add the glass of wine, which should sizzle as the liquid hits the pan then once it evaporates begin adding the hot stock little by little until each addition is absorbed, stirring all the time. This should take 10-15 minutes but halfway through this process add the puréed squash. Check and adjust the seasoning after you do this.
  5. When the risotto is almost cooked, and there’s still a bit of bite to it, you can stop it cooking by turning it onto a baking tray, then finish it off when you want to serve it. You need to spread it out thinly to stop the cooking process.
  6. Heat the risotto with a little more stock, and add the marscapone and grated parmesan to taste. Trim and shed the radicchio and add it at this stage (it will cook out in the heating up process) along with the remaining butternut squash cubes. (Alternatively you can reheat the squash cubes in a little stock and scatter them over the risotto when you serve it.)

Check the seasoning again, adding extra salt and pepper to taste and maybe a little lemon juice. Serve in warm bowls topped with a few par,mesan shavings and a little chopped parsley.