Risotto is one of my favourite dishes to make AND eat. If it’s on a restaurants menu I can guarantee that I will order it. Ever since I was first introduced to it and learned how to make it in chef school I've been making variations of it. One of the things I love about risotto is it’s versatility. You can literally do anything, almost anyway, with it, even dessert. (stay tuned) It’s a hearty and comforting dish that lends itself well to the Fall and Winter seasons.
Risotto is a creamy rice dish that originated in the northern regions of Italy. It uses a specific kind of rice called, Arborio Rice. It’s unique in that it’s a round large grain that is starchy. This is important as risotto’s creaminess comes strictly from the starches in the rice that are released during the cooking process. If you see a recipe that calls for cream, and they are out there, don't be fouled, it isn't authentic!
A few weeks ago I went Pingle's Farm. Every year they have a huge variety of winter squash that I've been wanting to experiment with. This year I decided it was time and bought a few different varieties. They have squashes most people haven't heard of like Blue Hubbard, Cinderella, Buttercup as well as having traditional Butternut, Pumpkin, and Acorn. The thing is, all are really versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes/dishes. Breads, soups, and even simply mashing them are great ways to make them delicious. You're limited only by your imagination. In this specific recipe I used Blue Hubbard Squash, but of course you could use any of the aforementioned. So, next season get out to your local farms and see what they have to offer. You'll be pleasantly surprised with how delicious they are.
Winter Squash Rissotto
1/2 Small Onion, Small Diced
1 Large Garlic Clove, Minced
1/2 Tablespoon of Grainy Mustard
2 Generous Tablespoon of Butter
3/4 Cup Winter Squash, Small Diced
1/2 Cup White Wine
1 Litre of Chicken Stock
1 Cup of Arborio Rice
In a large frying pan sauté winter squash in 1 tablespoon of butter. Once the squash has a light brown colour and is tender, remove from frying pan into a bowl and reserve for later.
Put the pan back onto heat and sauté onions in the other tablespoon of butter. When the onions are translucent add in the garlic, mustard and rice and mix together, making sure the rice is evenly coated with butter. Deglaze with white wine and with a wooden spoon, stir. Once the rice has absorbed most of the wine add in 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and stir. Cook and stir until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid and add in another 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Repeat this process until the rice is cooked Al Dente (to the tooth). The texture should not be mushy. Add the squash back into the risotto and gently stir. If the rice becomes too thick add a little bit of water in to release it. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with blanched Kalettes or freshly chopped green onion.