Butternut squash and bacon risotto recipe
Remember that roast chicken? Well obviously you HAVE to make a stock, when you’ve cooked a whole chicken. Any veg you have at hand will be okay, alongside the carcass and some water – but I prefer to use a carrot or two, a stick of celery, 1/2 an onion (leave the skin on for a deeper coloured stock) a bay leaf and 8-10 black peppercorns. Add any old bits you’ve got, so long as they’ll add to the flavour and not compromise it! Yum.
Chop your butternut squash into 1-2cm cubes, and roast in a drizzle of oil on a baking tray (a sprig of either thyme, rosemary or sage wouldn’t go amiss…) Roast until soft on a medium-high heat – be careful not to burn, but you want them nice and soft.
Risotto is simple. Chop an onion and 2 cloves of garlic finely, and whack them in a pan on medium heat with 1tbsp of oil and a knob of butter (15g ish). Sweat these until the onion is translucent (5-10mins). Now add enough risotto rice (arborio, carnaroli, vialone nanno…whatever you fancy!) and stir until the rice is coated in sticky, buttery onion. Now is the time for a glug of white, dry martini, or white wine (if you have either of these to hand. This is genuinely the only reason I have martini in the house…). They will add to the flavour but the alcohol content will burn off. If you add them later you’ll have some residual alcoholic bitterness. Add hot stock, bit by bit, to your risotto rice. You need to allow each ladle to absorb before adding the next.
People have different taste preferences for their risotto. Restauranty types like “al dente” – nutty rice with a bite to it – but I like a nice, soft risotto with only a little nuttiness. Stir until cooked to your taste, anyway. You’ll probably need around 1l of stock for risotto for 3 people, and it’ll probably take 40mins. You need to stir it pretty much constantly, but find a friend and a nice glass of chilled white wine and you’ll find this isn’t such a chore after all.
When you’re ready to roll, stir your roasted squash into the risotto to warm through, and get nicely coated in risotto-y stickiness. Quickly fry some streaking bacon and perch on top – add the bacon fat too, for yumminess! A few scrapes of parmesan, some black pepper and you’re done!