CHS Express Tutorial: Roasted Butternut & Sundried Tomato Risotto

CHS EXPRESS Tutorial: Roasted Butternut & Sundried Tomato Risotto

Today we launch the second edition of the CHS Express Tutorials.

This CHS EXPRESS Tutorial is presented by Chef Alicia Giliomee and Mrs Ronel Bezuidenhout on the art of preparing Risotto.  Join us in creating the next dish with expert tips in this cooking tutorial.


Roasted Butternut & Sundried Tomato Risotto (Serves 2)

picture1Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Dish Components:

1 ½ cup Butternut Brunoise (roasted)
80ml cup chopped Sundried Tomatoes (re-constituted)
½ Chevin log (sliced into rounds)
1 Litre Vegetable Stock
150ml Dry White Wine
2 cups (500ml) pre-cooked Risotto (Arborio Rice)
A pinch of Saffron
½ cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)
80ml Butter (cubed)
1 Lemon cheek
20g Baby leaves (rinsed)

Equipment Components:

  • Cutting Board
  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Cook’s Knife
  • Paring Knife
  • Small roasting tray
  • Small pot
  • Medium sized pot
  • Small pan
  • Wooden spoon

For the Roasted Butternut Brunoise:
1 medium sized Butternut (with a long neck)
25ml Olive Oil
7ml Ground Cinnamon
7ml Ground Ginger
7ml Ground Cumin
1 sprig of Thyme
10ml Honey


1. Clean the Butternut and remove the skin. Working on a stabilized vegetable cutting board (Tip: for safety purposes and grip, place a damp cloth/paper towel underneath the board to keep it from moving while you slice) and using a sharp Cook’s Knife, cut off the neck of the Butternut and cut into Brunoise.

2. Bring a small pot of water up to the boil and lower the Butternut into the liquid. Blanch the Butternut Brunoise in boiling water for about 3 minutes to pre-cook them. Strain and reserve.

3. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 200°C.

4. Toss the Butternut with the remaining ingredients in a small roasting pan. Now place the butternut in the oven to roast for about 10 minutes.

5. Remove the Butternut from the oven and check that it is cooked through, but still holds its shape. Reserve until required.

Chefs Note: Prepare a basic Brunoise cut by moving the blade length-ways down the neck, slice off a little off the rounded edge in order to stabilize the butternut on the cutting board. Now, slice the butternut neck length-ways into 1cm thick panels. Take a panel and cut 1cm length-ways strips down the neck. Now cut the strips into 1cm x 1cm blocks/cubes. Et voila! Brunoise.

This same cut can be practiced with all elongated vegetables and fruit. Just remember to first stabilize, then panel and line slice and finally shape into cubes.

For the Vegetable Stock:
1 Onion, sliced brunoise
1 Leek, sliced brunoise
1 Carrot, sliced brunoise
1 Celery, sliced brunoise
1 Bouquet Garni (is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string and mainly used to prepare soup, stock, and various stews)
5ml oil
3-4 cups Water


1. Place the oil in a medium small pot and bring to a medium heat. Add in the vegetables and seal off the flavour without browning. Now add the Bouquet Garni.

2. Deglaze with the water and then add the remaining water. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the liquid to the boil.

3. Once it reaches boiling point, take it down to a simmer and remove the lid.

4. Allow the liquid to simmer for about 15 min to extract the flavour.

5. Strain the liquid and reserve till required.

Chefs Note: Prepare your own Bouquet Garni by securing a sprig of Thyme, Parsley stalk, a few black peppercorns (garlic optional) together I a small piece of muslin cloth. A Bouquet Garni is central to French Soup, Sauce and Stock production and is a clever little wonder to keep in your pantry.

Chefs Note: When preparing any stock, remember the golden rule: Take it up to the boil, then bring it back to a simmer. Simmering allows for a slow and non-invasive extraction of flavour whereas boiling is more vigorous and will have a less effective result.And remember to skim the top part of the liquid throughout the stock making process to remove any scum/ impure particles.

For the Risotto:
20ml Olive Oil
20ml Butter (cubed)
1 small Onion (sliced brunoise)
10ml  Fresh Thyme (finely chopped)
1 ½ cup Arborio rice (Risotto rice)
150ml dry White Wine
500-600ml Vegetable Stock
A pinch of Saffron
½ cup Parmesan cheese (grated)

60ml Butter (cubed)
20ml Fresh Parsley (chopped)
1 Lemon cheek
1 ½ cup Butternut Brunoise (roasted)
80ml cup chopped Sundried Tomatoes (re-constituted in boiling water)
½ Chevin log (sliced into rounds)
Baby leaves to garnish

1. Heat a medium sized pot to moderate heat and pour in the oil and butter. Once it starts sizzling, add in the onions and sweat the onions over a medium heat until translucent in colour.

2. At this point, add the Risotto grains and stir over the heat, without browning, until the grains start turning translucent around the outer edges.

3. Now turn the heat up slightly, still without browning the ingredients, and deglaze with a third of the white wine.

4. Allow the Risotto grains to absorb the wine. When the liquid has almost cooked dry on the bottom of the pot, continue with the second and third deglaze in the same manner. Turn the heat down slightly to a moderate heat.

5. Now start adding your warm vegetable stock also in 100ml batches and allow the grains to absorb the liquid before adding the next batch of liquid.

6. The grains will start swelling and you will see a slow extraction of starch in the form of a creamy liquid coating all the grains. Taste the grain to test for Al Dente. At this point you can cool the rice down on a flat tray for later use.

7. Now stir in the chopped re-constituted Sundried Tomatoes.

8. While the rice mixture is bubbling gently, add the pinch of Saffron and fold gently to allow for colour and flavour extraction.

9. Meanwhile, in a small pan, re-heat the reserved roasted Butternut and then add to the Risotto.

10. Now add the grated Parmesan and gently fold into the Risotto.

11. Fold in the Butter and chopped Parsley.

12. Add a little stock if still required and keep folding gently until the cheese and butter is melted and have emulsified with the liquid to a sauce with a glossy sheen.

13. Adjust final seasoning with a squeeze of Lemon, Salt and Pepper.

Chefs Note: Arborio rice grains are classified as Short Grain Rice and are high in starch (hence the creamy characteristic of a true risotto). In order to extract the optimum level of starch, it needs to be a slow extraction. Don’t rush a Risotto. Prepared with patience and love, this simple dish of rice, vegetables and cheese can be transformed into a creamy nostalgic feast.

Preparing for Assembly:

1. Heat a pan to medium heat and when hot, add in the pine nuts. Allow them to toast slightly to release their volatile oils and extract their delicious roasted flavour. Remove from the heat and reserve for plating.

2. Spoon the Risotto into a heated serving plate, and garnish with sliced Chevin.

3. Garnish with a pinch of fresh Baby Leaves and enjoy!

Chef’s Note: Try something different and serve your risotto with a vegetable pickle to add a bit of interest to an Al Fresco lunch table.

Wine Pairing:

Paired with Saronsberg Viognier 2015.

The wine has a light straw colour and flavours of honey, pear, apricot and delicate floral notes. It has a rich, silky palate with subtle spice and yellow fruit flavours, light oak and a balanced fresh finish.

Awards: Top 100 SA Double Platinum 2016; Grand Cru National ‘Best in Class’ at Top 100 SA 2016.

More videos will be available on the CHS Express Channel in future – subscribe to keep up to date with the latest news and tutorials.

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