This one is kinda bastardized from a Jamie Oliver recipe, from his “Jamie’s Kitchen” cookbook. I must have cooked this a dozen times, and each time I do something a little different, depending on what I have in the cupboards.
In his he uses Pancetta, but I like the less fatty cut of Prosciutto for this dish, since the risotto is pretty rich. He also crushes up coriander seed and whole black pepper corns, and throws the butternut squash around in it before roasting. This time, I just couldn’t be bothered to crush the spices. So I left em out. The result? The squash didn’t have such a complex deep flavor, but it saved a few minutes of crushing. He also uses the seeds from the butternut squash, but personally I prefer not to – just too much going on in one dish if you ask me. And finally, I use a lot less butter and parmesan to finish the dish. I have never cooked using a lot of butter, and am really susceptible to “over buttering”. Don’t get me wrong, I love the stuff, but a little goes a long way in my book. Oh, and he uses chestnuts, which I didn’t have, so I used hazelnuts.
So this is a really pretty simple dish to make, and a great one to do if you have never made risotto before. The one thing to remember is that risotto needs constant attention. If you leave it to its own devices it is gonna come up pretty messed up. Much like our toddler. It wouldn’t be “no one is around, I’m going to stick your fingers in an outlet” bad, but it wouldn’t be good.
Risotto of Roasted Butternut Squash, Prosciutto and Sage
1 cup of Arborio rice
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1 stick of celery, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, finely diced
2 glasses of white wine (dry)
1 small handful of fresh sage leaves
1/2 butternut squash
4 large slices of prosciutto
1 teaspoon of butter
1 small handful of hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1 small handful of grated parmesan
5 cups of chicken stock
Turn your oven to 400F. Scoop out the seeds from the butternut squash and discard. Using a sharp knife, or Japanese slicer, cut the squash into 1/4″ slices lengthwise. Toss these in a little salt, black pepper and olive oil. Lay out on a baking tray, and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the squash is soft.
Pour the stock into a medium saucepan, and keep warm over a low heat. We are going to be adding this slowly to the risotto, and keeping it warm stops the rice from cooling then heating again, which slows down cooking time and stops all the starch from coming out.
In a large saute pan, over a medium heat slowly sweat down the onion celery and garlic. Try not to brown them. When they are soft, add the rice. Keep stirring until nicely combined, and the rice is starting to look a wee bit colored. Crank up the heat, and pour in the wine. Mix, and let the wine cook right down to almost nothing.
Add a ladle of the warm broth to the rice mixture, and gently stir. You want to stop the rice from sticking, but don’t just whisk it around. Push it a bit, roll it over, like a gentle need. Do this until most of the stock has been absorbed. When it has, add another ladle, and repeat. You are going to do this for about 20 minutes until the rice is just soft. You want the final result to be oozy and smooth, but still with a tiny bite. Make sure that it isn’t swimming in stock at the end!
When the squash is done (most likely in the middle of doing the risotto), lay the prosciutto, sage and hazelnuts on top of squash, and return to the oven for 10 minutes, just to crisp up the prosciutto. Remove from the oven, let it cool, and chop it all roughly.
When the rice is done, add in the squash, sage, hazelnuts and prosciutto. Add the butter and half of the parmesan. Gently stir to combine, and put a lid on the pan. Let this sit off the heat for a couple of minutes to let the flavors mix.
Spoon onto plates, and top with the rest of the grated cheese.