-Soak 1½ cups of basmati rice in warm salted water for 1 hour.
-Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
-Peel 1 winter squash and cut it into 1 inch pieces.
-Toss the winter squash with 2 TBS olive oil and ½ tsp sea salt.
-Spread it in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes until tender.
-In a heat safe bowl mix a big pinch (about 50 strands) of saffron with 3 TBS boiling water.
-Add in 2 TBS unsalted butter, which should melt. Set the saffron aside.
-Thinly slice and dice 1 fennel bulb or 4 stalks of celery.
-Heat 4 TBS unsalted butter in a medium saucepan.
-Add in the following:
A 6 cm piece of cinnamon stick
4 crushed allspice berries
-Then add the fennel/celery and ½ tsp sea salt.
-Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the onion is soft.
-Add the following:
1 TBS currants
¼ cup shelled/unsalted pistachios
½ tsp ground cardamom
-Cook for 10 minutes more.
-Drain the rice and add it to the pan.
-Stir together for a minute or two.
-Pour in 2¼ cups stock and stir well.
-Scatter the roasted squash on top of the rice.
-Cover with a circle of parchment paper, then cover with a tight fitting lid.
-Cook over high heat until boiling, then reduce heat and cook another 5-10 minutes until rice is tender.
-Remove paper and drizzle with the buttery saffron water.
-Replace the lid and leave to rest off the heat for 5-10 minutes.