November is a month for comfort cooking and there are few dishes as comforting as risotto. I use onion squash for this recipe, which gives it a vibrant orange hue and deliciously creamy texture. A sage and walnut browned butter gives it a little more flair and makes it perfect for entertaining. I love to serve it alongside some hearty greens – a warm salad of kale stuffed with plump sultanas and generous shavings of parmesan. Then there’s a pear tart to finish – best served with some crème fraîche or good double cream.
I like to serve this menu with a zesty white wine to cut through the richness of the risotto. I love this Austrian grüner veltliner from Cave Bristol, which has a great selection of natural wines made by small-scale producers.
DISCOVER ALEXANDRA'S MENU
Warm Cavolo Nero, Smoked Almond, Sultana & Parmesan Salad
This is a simple and delicious way to elevate greens. The balance of sweet and salty takes a bunch of kale from something quite bland to quite wonderful. Juicy plump sultanas and lots of salty cheese add brilliant texture, too. I love it alongside a risotto, but it is equally good on its own enjoyed as a starter.
Roasted Onion Squash Risotto With Sage & Walnut Burnt Butter
I love the variety of squash that comes with autumn. Onion squash (also known as red kuri) is one of my favourites. It is buttery soft and slightly sweet. The skin is edible and when roasted it becomes wonderfully nutty and caramelised. It works perfectly for this risotto and breaks up easily into the cooked rice, turning it a vibrant shade of autumnal orange. I often make this midweek, but I love to jazz it up with a sage and walnut burnt butter when I’m entertaining.
Pear & Almond Tart
Of all the puddings I make for dinner parties, this one might be my favourite. I love the chewy sweetness of almond frangipane against soft cooked fruit. In the warmer months I make this with apricots, but in autumn I make it with pears. I cannot stress how vital it is that you grind your own almonds when making the frangipane. Ready-ground almonds lack both flavour and texture – and the coarseness of crumb is what makes the frangipane in this tart so good. I like to use Williams pears for this. They are soft, juicy and not too grainy, but I have used conference pears in the past too. Just ensure they are ripe.
DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.