Following on from my last post, I have decided to dedicate this post to pumkins and squashes. I have a strange love affair with pumpkins and squashes – I am drawn to them with their beautiful curves and gorgeous colours, but I almost prefer them as a work of art, rather than food to be eaten.
Part of the problem is that I don’t really know how to cook them in a way that I enjoy, and my partner N particularly dislikes their flavour, which means that I am even more unlikely to cook them. I am seduced by them at the grocers, and then they end up as ornaments in our kitchen. I was really quite upset when I hacked apart my pale slate blue “Blue Squash” and transformed it into a risotto. I really enjoyed it but N ate it grudgingly, slightly happier with crispy pancetta disguising the flavour. I think I truly preferred it as a ornament, an object of beauty to admire in my kitchen.
A few model shots of the squash that was (how I miss it!) and below is my squash risotto recipe – in my bid to make a squash risotto I liked (I am generally put off by the recipes that have large chunks of squash in them) I blended up my squash before adding it to the rice. It made the most fantastic, golden orange risotto.
Heat your oven to around 200°C. Cut up the sqaush into chunks, put into a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the squash is soft. Remove and cool.
In a large saucepan or deep frying pan heat the knob of butter and a drop of olive oil. While the oil is heating, finely chop your onion. When the butter starts to gently bubble, add the onion and a generous grinding of black pepper, and cook until soft.
Make sure your stock is warm. Add the glug of white wine and a ladleful of stock – it should boil furiously for a couple of minutes until the liquid has reduced by half. Now pour in the rice and stir continuously for a couple more minutes.
You want to make sure it’s a gentle heat and then simply start adding in a ladleful of stock at a time, stirring the risotto until the liquid is absorbed, then adding another ladleful and so on until all the stock in used up. This usually takes around 20 minutes. If the heat is too high the liquid disappears too quickly and you’ll find you have to use more stock.
Meanwhile, peel any skin from the roasted squash and blend to a puree. When the risotto is nearly done, add the puree and stir well – it goes quite sticky. If you want to fry off some pancetta until crispy, now is the time to do so, you could also drop in a couple of sage leaves as well.
Stir in a dollop of creme fraiche and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil – and crispy pancetta and sage if you wish.
*Note: This froze well and was quickly reheated in a pan.*