Beautiful orange risotto full of sweetness and hearty flavour, perfect as the nights draw in.
Risotto can become gloopy if you overcook it or use the wrong kind of rice. It really has to be arborio or carnaroli if you want the satisfying bite and consistency that the full bodied rice kernels give. However, don’t let that put you off! Just stand over it and keep stirring, and don’t be afraid to turn the heat off when it is al dente and allow it to continue cooking in its own heat.
I sometimes add a sage leaf to the initial mixture but then take it out once I start adding the rice. This gives it flavour without tainting the beauty of the pure orange rice.
· 250g arborio or carnaroli risotto rice (for 4 people)
· 1 onion
· half a butternut squash
· 1.5 litres of broth - your own or 1 vegetable or chicken stock cube is fine
· a knob of butter
· 200g parmesan
· bay leaf (otional)
Chop the onion and squash
Chop the onion into small slices and chop the squash into smallish cubes.
Make the broth
Real broth made with a chicken (see my recipe) is delicious and adds a good depth to the risotto but you can just as successfully make this by boiling a litre and a half of water and melting 1 and a half stock cubes in it. Have the broth warmed and ready to use.
Cook the onions and squash
Heat some oil in a pan and add the onion. Allow the onion to soften a little, then add the squash and stir. After a few minutes, before the onion and squash stick to the bottom, add a ladle full of broth. Cook the squash and onion until the squash is quite tender under the fork. If you have a fresh bay leaf, add it in the onion mixture and then discard it just before adding the rice.
Add the risotto rice
Add the risotto rice to the mixture and stir. When the broth has been absorbed and it starts to stick very slightly, add a ladle full of broth and stir, Continue stirring and adding the broth repeatedly. Do not add too much broth at once – wait for it to be absorbed before you add the next ladle full. Rice generally takes 20 minutes or so to cook, so you will need to stand over the cooker for that time and stir intermittently and add broth as required.
When the rice is al dente, give it a last stir, turn the heat off and cover the pan. Leave to rest for 5 minutes. Then add the butter, cover again and allow to sit for another few minutes. The butter adds a creamy texture to the risotto. Finally, add a little parmesan, stir and serve in a warmed dish. Pass the extra parmesan around for everyone to make it as cheesy as they see fit.