Calasparra rice with roasted squash, chestnuts, garlic & parsley

Arroz con Calabazas y Castanas

Another soothing rice dish tonight, served with roasted fennel pan-fried with cherry tomatoes and sage.

I roasted the seeds of the squash too, they take on a very smokey taste when roasted which is yummy.

1 butternut squash peeled & cut into quarters
3 cloves garlic (2 in skins, 1 sliced thinly)
salt and pepper
olive oil
10 roasted chestnuts, cut in half (I used the blister packs found in most supermarkets near the salt)
150g calasparra rice (bomba paella or arborio should work just as well)
500ml vegetable stock
50g goats cheese (optional)
2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

Pre-heat oven to 220 C. Place the peeled and quartered squash in a roasting tray along with 2 of the garlic cloves (with skin on, squashed with the side blade of a knife). Drizzle over enough olive oil to coat them and season with 2 pinches of pepper and 1 of salt. Place on the top shelf of the oven and roast for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then cut into 2cm chunks.

While the squash is cooking place a large frying pan over a low heat with a good glug of olive oil. Drop in the sliced clove of garlic and fry gently until soft and slightly caramalised. Stir in the chestnuts and cook for another minute. Add the squash, stir and add the rice, stirring to coat everything in the hot oil.

Pour over the stock and season. Bring to the boil, give the rice a final stir, and turn down the heat and simmer very gently for 20-30 minutes, or until the rice is just cooked and the liquid is absorbed. You may need to add the odd splash of water if needed. Halfway through cooking give the pan a couple of gentle shakes so the rice doesn’t stick. Don’t stir with a spoon, like I did a bit, the squash breaks up (which Abi rather liked). When the rice is at the right consistency, take off the heat and crumble in the cheese and the chopped parsley. Give a good stir and let it stand for 1 or 2 minutes before serving.

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