Roasted Monkfish, Butternut Risotto, Hazelnuts & Sage


 special anniversary coinciding with Valentine’s Day means I feel less guilty about buying some of my favourite and more indulgent ingredients. Monkfish is a favourite fish of ours but one that isn’t exactly budget friendly so any excuse! I did consider using 3 deliciously fried, golden buttery scallops on top of this creamy risotto and I still feel like might even be a better combo so pick whatever takes your heart.

This clearly served 2 on Valentine’s evening but I’ve scaled up here for 4 as I had loads left over! The reserved risotto makes amazing arancini (cooled, rolled, breaded and deep fried) so NEVER discard leftover risotto! Reheated it can get a bit starching and ‘gloopy’ but the flavour is still there.

WINE: Serve with a crisp Muscadet, Chenin or if you’re partial to a Sauvignon Blanc…I’ll let you off.

Serves 4

The risotto can sit and melt while you pan fry the fish so just made sure everything is ready to go!

  • 4 fillets monkfish (you can use cod, haddock or even scallops if feeling indulgent)
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 50g parmesan, finely grated
  • Butter
  • 1 red onion, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 large glass white dry wine
  • 1 stock cube
  • 50g hazelnuts, roamed and roughly chopped
  • 1 small bunch sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • Rocket to serve


  1. Start by preheating the oven to 180. Halve (lengthways) the butternut and remove the seeds. Drizzle with a little oil and season. Roast for about 40 minutes in the oven until the flesh is tender. Remove and set aside to cool slightly. Next, mash the flesh with a fork until smooth and discard the skin.
  2. Season the monkfish with a good pinch of salt and refrigerate until ready to cook (monkfish is quite watery so it helps to do this ahead of cooking).
  3. Heat a large pan of water on the hob and crumble in the stock cube. Keep the stock water on a low heat, barely simmering. You’ll use that during the cooking.
  4. Heat a large heavy based saucepan with a tsp of oil and a tbsp of the butter on the hob on a medium heat. Gently fry the onion slowly for about 8 minutes until turning translucent and soft. Add the garlic and fry for a few minutes more.
  5. Turn the heat up a little and add the rice and coat in the buttery onions. You need to fry the rice here for a few minutes – this too should start to turn translucent. At this point, add the white and simmer nicely, stirring. The alcohol and liquid should reduce. At this point add the butternut and a small spoonful of stock and mix well and turn down the heat to a medium/low.
  6. Add another big spoonful of the stock and simmer, stirring continuously – don’t leave this unattended or it will likely stick. Risotto rice also likes to be stirred often.
  7. Continue adding the stock for about 18 minutes (sometimes longer as the butternut slows the cooking I find) or until the rice is just cooked. Ensure you don’t have a thick consistency OR a soupy one. Reduce or add stock accordingly. Risotto served on the plate should be ‘oozey’ – it should never sit in a clump! (see picture).
  8. Once the rice is cooked, season and remove the pan from the heat and add the parmesan and about 3 tbsp of butter. Set aside with a lid on.


  1. Heat an oven proof frying pan on a high heat with a tsp of light sunflower oil.
  2. Coat the monkfish in a light dusting of flour and season.
  3. Fry the monkfish on a high heat for about 1-2 minutes per side or until golden and crisp.
  4. Add 2 x tsp of butter to each fillet and pop the pan in the oven for about 5-6 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets.
  5. Once cooked, remove from the oven and put the frying pan onto a hot hob. Add the hazelnuts and sage and toss gently in the buttery juices. Finally, add a good squeeze of lemon juice over the fish and sauce and stir.


  1. Stir the risotto well to mix in all the melted butter and parmesan. Spoon into warm bowls and top with a handful of rocket. Squeeze over a little lemon juice.
  2. Top with a fillet of monkfish and a good spoonful of the butter hazelnuts and sage.