Spicy Squash Risotto with Thyme & Mascarpone
Nb persons: 6
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Source: Jamie Oliver - The Naked Chef
|Spicy Roasted Squash
|shallots, finely chopped, (or 2 medium onions)
|celery, finely chopped, (discard any tough outer ribs)
|sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
|fresh thyme leaves
|garlic, finely chopped
|dry white vermouth or dry white wine
|parmegiano-reggiano, freshly grated
First of all, roast your squash. Divide it in half. Remove the skin from one half & roughly chop the flesh. With the other half, leaving the skin on, chop slightly finer.
Stage 1. Heat the stock. Then in a separate pan, heat the olive oil, add the shallot or onion, celery, thyme & a pinch of salt, and sweat the vegetables for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic & after another 2 minutes, when the vegetables have softened, add the rice. Turn up the heat now. At this crucial point, you can't leave the pan, and anyway, this is the best bit.
While slowly stirring, continuously, you are beginning to fry the rice. You don't want any color at any point (so remember, you're in control & if the temperature seems too high, turn it down a bit). You must keep the rice moving. After 2 or 3 minutes it will begin to look translucent as it absorbs all the flavors of your base (it may crackle at this point, that's fine). Add the vermouth or wine, keeping on stirring as it hits the pan - it will smell fantastic! It will sizzle around the rice, evaporating any harsh alcohol flavors & leaving the rice with a tasty essence.
I must admit I'm a sucker for the dry vermouth. When it cooks into the rice it seems to give it a really full but subtle flavor & leaves a wicked sweetness that works perfectly with the rice. White wine is lovely, probably more delicate & fresh.
Stage 2. Once the vermouth or wine seems to have cooked into the rice, add the batch of squash which has had the skin removed. Then add your first ladle of hot stock 7 a pinch of salt (add small amounts of salt to taste while you are adding the stock). Turn down the heat to a high-ish simmer (the reason we don't want to boil the hell out of it is because , if we do, the outside of the rice will be cooked & fluffy & the inside will be raw). Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring & allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the enxt. This will take about 15 minutes. Taste the rice - is it cooked? Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Check seasoning.
Stage 3. Remove from the heat & add the remaining squash, mascarpone, butter & parm-reg, saving a bit of the latter to go on top if you like. Stir gently. Eat it as soon as possible while it retains its moist texture.
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