David, my new housemate, decided he wanted to make us supper one night. I don’t ever refuse such offers. It’s such a rare occasion that someone wants to cook something for me that I’d leap at beans on toast or scrambled egg but David had decided he wanted to try making risotto which was an added luxury all of it’s own.
Risotto started life in our family as a bit of a disaster but has leaped from strength to strength since then. I was put off it temporarily at school when it was just white rice with some peas and ham in it and it was soggier than a muddy puddle! Since discovering how nice risotto can be, I’m always so disappointed when it’s not cooked properly, when the rice is under, or for that matter, overcooked, when it’s tasteless or bitter. I remember Nigel Slater once using the word ‘soporific’ and I love it so much I try to use it all the time. Risotto should be soporific. I would like to fall into a giant lioness sleep after a huge plate of creamy rice.
With great excitement, I returned from work to find a housemate careering about on one foot looking guilty. Further investigation revealed him to be some sheets to the wind and a little useless. I ended up having to take the mantle and cook supper which would have been fine but I wasn’t really in a cooking mood and had my mind on several million other things and so I burned the butternut squash, I never burn anything! I ended up treating us both to delivery pizza!
So, we decided to cook it again and this time, David could be chef except he wriggled out of it and I had to cook again! So here is my recipe for it, not David’s as we have no idea what that recipe would look like!
Blue Cheese and Butternut Squash Risotto
- a large butternut squash
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 large sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1tsp crushed garlic
- 350g arborio rice
- 100ml chicken stock
- 100ml dry, fruity white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
- 125g Creamy Blue cheese e.g. stilton – something with a bit of a punch!
- 50g finely grated parmesan
- two spoons of creme fraiche
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
- Peel and deseed the butternut squash. Chop into nice chunks about an inch wide and deep. Place in a baking tray with olive oil, salt and pepper and the thyme and cook for about 30 minutes until the squash is soft and cooked.
- When the squash is cooked, switch off the oven and heat some olive oil in a large, deep frying pan or shallow saucepan.
- When the oil is hot but not scalding, add the onion and garlic and cook gently so that the onion turns translucent but does not brown.
- After the onion and garlic are softened, add the arborio rice to the pan and once again cook until translucent. Once this has turned translucent, add a ladle of chicken stock and stir the rice until the liquid has soaked in. Prepare not to leave the hob for a while!
- Add a ladle of wine and repeat this with the wine and the stock until the rice grains are swollen and soft to taste with still a little bite.The rice will have given out much of the starch and so the mixture will look sticky. Each ladle should take about 3 minutes to absorb.
- Add the crumbled blue cheese, parmesan and creme fraiche and stir these through the mixture. Add the squash and stir.
- Serve on a plate with a handful of freshly grated parmesan and some twists of black pepper.
Next time, I shall get David to make it!