Soak the 100g walnuts in water
overnight. Strain through a sieve, put in a
pan and cover with 300ml water. Bring to
the boil, then simmer for 15 mins. Strain
again, return to the pan with the stock
and bring to the boil. Pour into a blender,
blend on medium for 5 mins, then strain
back into the pan. Set aside until step 4.
Make the sauce: soften the shallot in
the oil over a gentle heat for 10 mins.
Stir in the spices and stock, increase
the heat and reduce by three-quarters.
Pour in the Port and gently simmer for
20 mins. Strain into a clean pan and
reduce over a high heat until thickened,
about 10 mins. Set aside. Heat oven to
200C/180C fan/gas 6.
For the squash, heat the butter in
an ovenproof pan. Fry the squash for
3-4 mins, then stir in the walnuts with the
cinnamon, sugar and a pinch of salt. Roast
for 15-20 mins or until tender. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, make the orzotto. Warm
the walnut stock. Heat the oil and 25g
butter in a large, deep pan, add the
shallots and soften for 10 mins, but don’t
colour. Stir in the garlic and cook 3-4 mins
more. Remove from the pan, set aside,
then wipe the pan clean. Increase the
heat, tip in the barley and toast for
2-3 mins, keeping it moving so it doesn’t
burn. Quickly stir the shallots and garlic
back into the pan with the barley, then
pour in the Champagne. Stir well and add
a ladleful of warm walnut stock. Lower
the heat a little and keep adding stock
when the orzotto looks ‘thirsty’, stirring
occasionally to prevent it from sticking
to the pan. (You’ll need about 500ml
stock in total. Make up the amount with
vegetable stock if necessary.) Cook until
the barley is tender – 35-40 mins (you
have a lot more grace with this than
with rice, as it retains its bite for longer).
When cooked, add another half ladle of
stock (to stop the orzotto from thickening
as it cools), then stir in the Stilton and
a knob of butter. Stir and season,
remembering Stilton can be very salty.
To serve, reheat the sauce, adding
a little more Port if it is too thick, then
stir in the redcurrant jelly until dissolved
and finish with the butter. Spoon some
sauce over each plate and top with
a few spoonfuls of orzotto. Garnish with
the roasted squash and walnut halves,
a few small pieces of Stilton and leaves.