Butternut Squash, Goats Cheese and Bacon Risotto

This was cooked for the thirtieth birthday of a friend recently, in the attempt to have a grown-up dinner party to match his advancing years. The food, at least, was grown up. The bacon is added at the end in deference to kosher/vegetarian guests, however, it can also be chopped and added with the garlic and onion if this is not an issue.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 300g Butternut Squash, cubed.
  • 300g of Arborio rice .
  • 1.5l approximately chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 75g Goats Cheese
  • 2 small onions or shallot, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic; peeled and halved.
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Small glass of Vermouth, White wine or Dry sherry.
  • 1Tablespoon olive oil.
  • 1Tablespoon butter; cubed & chilled.

Method

  • Toss the cubed butternut squash in oil,and nutmeg in an oven dish. Season.
  • Bake in the oven at 200 degrees celsius for approximately thirty minutes, or until soft enough to mash with a fork.
  • Gently cook the garlic halves followed by the shallot in the olive oil in a large pot/pan for 5-10 mins taking care not to burn.
  • Add the rice and a half teaspoon of seasalt and cook for another few minutes until well coated then add the wine and cook, stirring continuously, until completely reduced.
  • Now add the stock ladleful by ladleful, and cook for 16-17 mins stirring regularly.
  • Fry the bacon until crispy and chop into small pieces.
  • Meanwhile, mash the cooked pumpkin to a puree and add to the risotto.
  • Remove the risotto from the heat and rest for 1 minute.
  • Beat in the chilled butter, goats cheese and Parmesan for a minute or two to get a nice and creamy result.
  • Top with the chopped bacon.
  • Adjust seasoning and serve immediately.
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