Saturday, 20 June 2009

Recipe: Mushroom and butternut squash risotto

This is yet another recipe created with "found food" (i.e. stuff leftover from other dishes)from the fridge. To my surprise, the kids loved it so its become a regular standby for the weekly menu planning session, especially if I'm runing out of inspiration.

You've no doubt read a million and one risotto recipes (my personal fav is risotto of radicchio, Taleggio and red wine from Anthony Demetre's wonderful book Today's Special) so I won't bore you by going on about technique, except to say that a chef once told me to cook the rice grains in the butter until the take on a tiny bit of colour and very lightly toast. It not only improves the flavour of the finished dish, but gets the cooking process off to a flying start so the grains will absorb the cooking liquid more quickly and easily. It's a nice little tip that I don't recall seeing written down before so I'm passing it on here now.

Mushroon and butternut squash risotto


serves 4

2 tablespoons of butter
2 dessert spoon of olive oil
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into small cubes
3 sprigs of thyme
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
300g of mixed mushrooms such as ceps, girolle and chestnut
500g arborio rice
150ml white wine
2.5 litres of simmering vegetable stock
125g grated parmesan cheese plus 50g to grate over the finished dish
handful of chives, very finely sliced
salt and pepper

Cook the butternut squash in a tablespoon of butter and dessertspoon of the oil in an oven proof saute pan until coloured. Scatter over the thyme sprigs and transfer to a hot oven (180 degrees C) until tender, about 15 minutes.

Sweat the onion in a tablespoon of the butter and a dessertspoon of the oil until soft and translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for a minute or two then add the garlic. Cook until the mushrooms have given up all of their liquid, then add the rice. Cook until lightly toasted then pour in the wine and cook until completely absorbed/evaporated. Add the simmering stock a ladle at a time, stirring the risotto all the time. When the rice is just cooked through, stir in the squash, cheese and chives and season well with the salt and pepper. Serve immeadiately in warm bowls, and grate over the remaining cheese.

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