Comfort Food

Isn’t risotto the perfect comfort food?  After a pretty hectic day today it just felt RIGHT to reach for the rice.   I found a butternut squash in the fridge which was quickly chopped and stuck in the oven to roast with a clove or two of garlic. This little smiley face  cheered me up no end- [smile enhanced for comic effect!! ]

Smiley Squash

Smiley Squash

I love butternut squash but it’s quite a recent discovery for me;  I don’t remember it being around when I was a kid or even when my own kids were little.

I don’t use a recipe for my risotto, although I have a lovely book dedicated to this king of dishes, and all my favourite cooks-  especially Nigel, Nigella and Jamie- have published their own versions.  Risotto is often a ‘bottom of the fridge’  dinner which is never the same twice!   Leek and pea  is a favourite, or smoky chorizo and roasted peppers.

Tonight I sweated an onion in some butter  with finely chopped pancetta before adding the arborio rice.  Our local butcher sells lovely slabs of smoked pancetta for under a fiver- used frugally this can be part of  5 or 6 meals  for 2-3 people.   You only need a small amount to add a little smokey bacon oomph to a spag bol.    There is rarely leftover wine in our house so I put in a slug of marsala before adding the hot chicken [or vegetable] stock a little at a time.  Now for the fun bit.  Stand and stir for about  twenty minutes, allowing your mind to wander where it will.  Ah, that’s better.   Taste the rice and check the texture –  I like to add a bit more butter and some grated parmesan at this stage.    Pile up in a bowl  and top with the roasted butternut which by now is lightly charred and sticky.

Roasted butternut squash

Roasted butternut squash

Grate a bit more parmesan on the top and consume in enormous portions.   Lie on sofa in carb coma.  Mmmmm.

Risotto with butternut squash and pancetta

Risotto with butternut squash and pancetta

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About downmyfront

Interested in cooking and eating, books, theatre, crafts, thrift and upcycling.
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