12 slices higher-welfare pancetta or dry-cured smoky bacon
100 g chestnuts , vac-packed is fine
1 bunch fresh sage , leaves picked
6 heaped tablespoons mascarpone cheese , optional
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Preheat your oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5. Carefully cut your butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Put these to one side. Cut the squash lengthways into 0.5cm/¼ inch slices. Bash up your coriander and chillies with a pinch of salt and pepper in a pestle and mortar (or use a metal bowl and the end of a rolling pin). Dust this over your squash with a tablespoon of olive oil. Toss around until completely coated. Line up snugly in a roasting tray and bake for around 30 minutes until the flesh and skin are soft to the touch. Now get all your ingredients ready and start making your basic risotto.
Remove the squash from the oven and lay your pancetta over it. Mix the squash seeds, chestnuts and sage leaves with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the squash and pancetta and place back in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes until the pancetta is crisp.
Once the squash has cooled down a little, shake off the pancetta and chestnuts and finely chop the squash – it will be quite mushy but that’s fine. I go for half of it fine and half chunky. Add this to the risotto at the end of Stage 3. Carry on as normal through the basic recipe, season to taste and serve with the pancetta, chestnuts, sage leaves and squash seeds sprinkled over the top.
Lovely served with a big dollop of mascarpone cheese on the side.
Try this: Place a grater and a block of Parmesan cheese in the middle of the table so that everyone can help themselves.