Risotto is to Italians what biryani is to desis. It’s comforting, its special and above all it’s decadent. There are many variations of risotto, but this is my autumn favorite.
Risotto is by no means a quick recipe, but a simple one. It requires only a handful of ingredients and a good amount of stirring (read free biceps workout).
For making risotto, you will need short grain rice like arborio or carnaroli rice. The short grain rice sticks together when cooked, which is perfect for the consistency of risotto. You can find risotto rice at Edeka, Rewe or sometimes even at Aldi.
It’s also important to use a good quality stock (preferably homemade) and add it gradually. I made stock using peels from pumpkin, onion and garlic. Another important tip is to keep the broth on simmer while adding it gradually to your rice. Cold liquid not only makes the dish take longer to cook, but it can also cause the starches to seize up.
Let’s get to the recipe:
Butternut Squash Risotto
- 1 small butternut squash
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 liters water
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup risotto rice (arborio rice)
- salt and pepper
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- Peel the butternut squash using a peeler (save the peels and seeds) and dice it into small pieces. Peel and chop the onion and garlic finely, saving the peels as well.
- Add the peels and seeds to a pot, along with 2 liters of water and 1 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, until reduced to half. Strain and leave to simmer on the lowest heat while cooking risotto.
- Alternatively, you can use skip the above step and use chicken stock instead. Put it on simmer in a pot on lowest heat.
- Heat olive oil in a deep pan/ pot on medium heat and add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add pumpkin, stir and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add rice, salt and pepper and give a good mix.
- Add about 1/2 cup of stock and stir until all the liquid evaporates.
- Repeat by adding 1/2 cup of stock at a time and letting it completely evaporate before adding more liquid.
- Repeat the above step until all the stock has been used up and the rice is tender. This will take somewhere between 20- 30 minutes.
- After adding the last batch of stock, add the butter and parmesan. Risotto should be creamy and sticky. If too dry add some water to loosen it up. Mix it just until combined and take off heat.
- Serve warm.
- As the risotto cools up, it will get thicker and stickier, so it’s better to cook it just before consumption.
- As tempted as you might be to add more stock at one go, resist the urge and go slow. Adding the stock gradually builds up starch in the rice which gives you a creamier risotto.
- If the risotto is too thick by the time you finish with the stock, add some water to loosen it up. The consistency shouldn’t be lumpy but flowy.