With Parmesan Crisp and Brown Butter
This creamy risotto makes for the perfect comfort food and the recipe is versatile enough to replace butternut squash with any veggies you happen to have at hand. The only non-negotiable here is finishing with generous servings of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and butter. The parmesan crisp and brown butter are cheffy little touches we've added to the dish but the risotto is just as delicious with some extra grated parmesan in their absence.
100g Acquerello rice
One finely minced shallot
75g finely minced butternut squash
75ml dry white wine
600ml vegetable stock
25g parmesan, grated
Extra virgin olive oil and salt as needed
30g wedge of parmesan, grated
100g of whole butter, cubed
Honey glazed butternut squash
200g butternut squash, diced
Extra virgin olive oil, vegetable stock, salt and honey as needed.
Before we jump in to the risotto we're going to prepare our garnishes. For the parmesan crisp, preheat an oven to 180°c (turning the fan assistance OFF) and line a baking tray with baking paper. Place a tablespoon of grated parmesan onto the baking tray and pat down to form a rough, flat circle of grated cheese. Repeat the process for all of your grated parmesan. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes or until beautifully golden brown. Allow to cool and reserve in an airtight container.
For the brown butter place a small pot over medium heat and add your butter to the pan, allow it to melt. As the water in the butter boils off and the melted butter stops bubbling and steaming it will begin to brown. At this stage whisk gently to prevent milk solids from burning at the bottom of the pan and keep a close eye on the colour and aroma changes in the butter. Once the butter begins to take on a brown hue and a nutty aroma remove from the heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Reserve until ready to use.
1. To start the risotto begin by placing a medium sized pot over medium heat and add a few drops of olive oil. Once the oil is hot add the minced shallot together with a pinch of salt and sweat until translucent, roughly 2 minutes.
2. Add the finely minced butternut squash to the pot and cook for 2 minutes or until softened. This will give our finished risotto a beautiful flavour and a wonderful orange hue.
3. Add the rice to the pot and cook while stirring for 2 minutes to toast the rice.
4. Add 200ml of warm stock or water to the pot and gently stir while cooking for 5 minutes or until the liquid is almost completely evaporated. Add a further 200ml of liquid to the pan and repeat the process.
At this stage you can remove the risotto from the pot and cool down in the fridge to finish later.
5. While finishing off the last few steps of the risotto we can prepare our honey glazed butternut squash. Begin by placing a saute pan over medium high heat. Once hot add a splash of olive oil to the pan and your small diced cubes of butternut squash together with a pinch of salt.
6. Once the butternut squash is browned well, add a splash of vegetable stock or water to the pan along with a tablespoon of honey and a few drops of lemon juice. Turn the pan to low and slowly allow the liquid to reduce until the butternut squash is cooked and the honey and stock have glazed the outside of the vegetables. Reserve until needed.
7. Over medium heat add the remaining stock 50ml at a time, constantly tasting your rice to see if it is cooked or not as cooking times may vary depending on the heat of your stove and the size of your pot. During this last phase of cooking it is imperative to gently stir the risotto constantly to coax the starch from the grains to thicken our risotto. Once your rice has a slight chew to it but is not chalky or grainy at the centre of the grain, it is ready to be finished. You want the risotto to still be quite loose and flowing so if all of your liquid has dried up and the risotto is quite tight, top up with a tablespoon of stock to loosen.
8. Remove the pot of risotto from the heat and add the butter and grated parmesan cheese, stirring constantly until both of the dairy items are well incorporated. Taste for seasoning and allow the risotto to sit for a minute or so.
9. Serve the risotto in a flat layer on warm plates. Gently spoon the risotto onto the plate and tap the back of the plate with your hand to spread it out evenly. Garnish with cubes of honey glazed butternut squash, broken shards of parmesan crisp and a good drizzle of brown butter.
If you want some hands on guidance creating the perfect risotto utilizing the finest produce spring has to offer, click here for more information on our upcoming Veggie Spring Risotto workshop.