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

About downmyfront

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