Black butternat squash risotto

I just wanted something simple for dinner. I had two small butternut squashes in my last week’s veggie bag, so decided to cook up a risotto. Classes dish really, isn’t it? We went shopping and I kept thinking what meaty thing I could cook it with as my husband really loves meat and I have cooked far too many purely vegetarian dishes for him this week. We have stopped and my favorite artisan butchers’ and they had this fantastic black rice. I have seen black rice before, but this one was different. It was Italian, the grains were rather thick and short. I thought it would work great in a risotto! I have spotted some raw chorizo and the idea was born.

At home I have decided to cook up a stock, took out some duck bones and made a simple broth. I have then added the squash. One squash I have cooked through, the other cooked a bit less. Once the stock was ready I have started with the risotto. What really surprised me was the color the rice started giving - a deep bloody red!!! I would have never said. I have used white wine but in this case red would not be a miss either!

You will find the details of the process below, but what I really think is important here is the separation of the two main ingredients in two stages. Chorizo - adding it at the very beginning with the onions really gets the sausage flavor out, then adding the crispy fried cubes at the end gives the dish the texture. With the squash - similarly, the puree added to the rice allows the flavor to integrate fully with the grains of rice, but adding the big cubes at the end not only lifts the color of the dish but also breaks the flavor and adds contrast to the dish. One tricky thing to do at home is to get the smooth and silky puree. I have discovered that Nutri Bullet gives purees almost as good as the ones from professional kitchen super powerful blenders!

I have classically finished of the risotto with parmesan and parsley. Enjoy! for 2 250 g black rice 4 medium size cooking chorizo 2 small or 1 big butternut squash 1 ltr stock (I have used duck but any stock will do, better home cooked though) 1/2 btl white wine 1 small onion 2 cloves garlic 1 tbsp dried sage 2 tbsp grated Parmesan 50 g butter few stalks of fresh parsley 1 tbsp olive oil salt and pepper 1. Divide the butternut squash in 2, one half cook through until soft, the other boil for a bit shorter time so it’s still a bit crunchy. Blend the cooked squash with a splash of stock until smooth. Cut the crunchy one in cubes and put aside.

2. Take two chorizo and fry them through, dice them and put aside. With the other two chorizo - take the skin of and cut it into small cubes.

3. Finely chop the onion and garlic. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add onions and garlic and sweat them. Add the small cubes of raw chorizo. Fry it on the pan until onion slightly caramelises, the chorizo sweats the spicy orange oils and gets crispy on the edges. Add a splash of white wine and cook for a minute.

4. Add the rice, and a ladle of stock. Stir constantly on the low heat. Once the stock evaporates, pour another ladle in and keep stirring. Keep adding the stock and stirring until the rice softens. Occasionally pour in wine, reduce the liquid in the pan constantly stirring.

5. When the rice is nearly al-dente, stir in the butternut squash puree and the sage. Keep stirring until you reach the silky and smooth risotto texture. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6. When the rice is perfectly al-dente and the risotto is perfectly creamy, turn off the heat. Take the butter and parmesan and stir it in quickly, before the risotto cools down.

7. Plate the risotto, put the dice of fried chorizo and the cubes of butternut squash on the top, sprinkle everything with the parmesan and finish off with a touch of chopped parsley.

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