Technically it is still winter, but the warm days of southern Spain make me think if spring; hence my meals are a combination of the two.
Lunch is a large bowl of salad with fresh avocados. We have reached the second (or first) season of the healthy fruit and on a warm afternoon a crisp, fresh salad is ideal. Dinner tends towards a warming dish as the chill of a winter evening creeps in.
Butternut squash is also in season here and combining my love of Spain and Italy tonight's dish is Butternut Squash Risotto.
Whilst roasting potatoes last night I put a half of a squash in to the oven to roast; soft but with a 'bite' to it, it will withstand the heat of the risotto dish for the few minutes needed to warm it through. The Parmesan came over to Spain courtesy of my Italian counterpart and has that pungent aroma that turns into unctuousness when combined with the rice, stock and other ingredients.
The orange of the squash makes this a colourfully warming dish; sweet and filling.
Having typed this blog whilst cooking and eating the risotto I am in the best position to tell you that this is a simple, tasty and fulfilling dish to see you through a cool, or cold, winter evening.
Ingredients (adjust according to the number you wish to feed)
Risotto rice (as per packet)
Garlic (finely chopped)
Onion (finely chopped)
Glass of dry white wine
1/2 small roasted butternut squash
Parmesan (finely grated)
Ground black pepper
Basil to garnish
- Gently sauté the onion and garlic in the oil until the onion starts to colour slightly.
- Add the rice to the pan and stir over a gentle heat for 2 minutes ensuring that all the rice is coated.
- Add the stock, a ladle or two at a time, stirring constantly. When the stock is almost completely absorbed add the next ladle or two. Intersperse the wine with the stock.
- Keep cooking this way for about 20 minutes over a low heat.
- Add the butternut squash and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. The rice will be creamy but retain a slight bite, ‘al dente’, and the squash will have warmed through.
- At the last moment add the cheese; give a quick stir to mix it in.
- Serve with black pepper and basil to garnish.
It is important that the correct type of rice is used for making risotto. Risotto rice needs to be short and plump. The best risotto rices are Carnaroli and Arborio. These rice grains release starch and absorb liquids making them ideal for the sticky risotto dish.
HINTS AND TIPS
The diagram below is for the Pea Risotto recipe I posted in July 2012. but the advice remains - use the correct rice!