I make risotto everyday at work. It's a lot different than this one, but the base is the same: sweated shallots, toasted risotto, sauvignon blanc to deglaze, and chicken stock to create the creamy body.
Plus a whole lot of stirring...
At work I add sea urchin to create a deliciously silky oceanic version of mac and cheese. But here, I've added spiced roasted butternut squash and dandelion greens sautéed with bacon for an earthy fall interpretation.
And that's what's great about risotto. You can add just about anything once you get the basic cooking technique down.
Cooking risotto is simple, but time consuming. As my Chef told me: the more you stir it, the better it tastes – risotto cannot be rushed. No argument here.
However, it can be made in advance. In the restaurant I stir my risotto base non stop for 30 minutes until it is al dente. Then I cool it down, portion it, and reheat it with a little water, parmesan cheese, and added accoutrements when ordered. I think it tastes better this way because the flavors have time to absorb in the rice.
Here I've followed normal risotto cooking instructions, but added butternut squash cooked in two ways. Diced squash is sweated with the shallots and risotto in the beginning, but also roasted separately with muchi curry powder and added as a garnish on top before serving.
While roasting the curry spiced butternut squash I also toasted squash seeds to add crunch. The dandelion greens are sautéed with bacon and then mixed into the risotto at the end.
This is a very satisfying and hearty meal. I ate at least three portions tonight and I can barely move from my sofa to write this post. I'm afraid all my energy is happily digesting right now ;-)
Spiced Butternut Squash Risotto with Dandelion Greens
Serves 3-4 persons
2 cups arborio rice
3 T butter
3 shallots diced
2 cups butternut squash, diced (seeds cleaned and reserved)
1 cup savignon blanc
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, muchi curry powder
1/2 bunch dandelion greens
3 strips bacon diced
1. Sweat shallots with butter and 1 cup of diced butternut squash in a large pot. Add 2 cups risotto rice and stir until translucent over medium heat (about 4 minutes). Deglaze with wine and stir until liquid is absorbed. Add chicken stock little by little stirring constantly, about 30 minutes.
2. Roast remaining butternut squash at 400˚F with a little olive oil, salt, ground pepper, and sprinkle of muchi curry powder until soft and caramelized. Toast squash seeds at same heat with the same seasoning until crunchy. Set aside.
3. Sauté diced bacon until crispy and remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Sauté dandelion greens in bacon grease. Add a little water if necessary to help soften. Reserve. Once risotto is soft, creamy, and al dente (but not too al dente) stir in parmesan and then dandelion greens.
4. Serve risotto with spiced butternut squash on top with bacon bits and toasted seeds.