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