January 17, 2013
Instead of a starter when I have people over I like to serve nibbles… it takes the pressure off in that I don’t have to make lots of things plus if dinner runs late people don’t go hungry.
I served some really bright green olives, sourdough bread, mozzarella and some beautiful figs.
Before the main event and my new favourite thing… risotto!
2 pints stock (chicken, or vegetable) note that if you don’t have fresh buy the best cubes you can find
2 tbsp olive oil
knob of butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ head celery, trimmed and finely chopped
400g risotto rice
2 wine glasses dry white wine
1 small butternut squash, cut into bite sized cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
70g butter + more for sage leaves
handful of fresh sage
115g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
150g mascarpone cheese to serve
1. You need to roast the squash pieces first, peel and cut your squash and put in the oven for 30-40 minutes, coat in a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the stock.
3. Put the oil and butter in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring… This is called a soffrito. You want everything to go translucent.
4. Then add the rice and very briefly lightly fry until the edges go a little translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring – it will smell fantastic.
5. Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside.
6. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes.
7. Taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite.
8. When the rice is nearly cooked, and just before you add the final ladleful of stock, stir in the butternut squash. Remove from the heat and add the butter, and parmesan.
Season now to your taste…
Put a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes so it gets all creamy. Meanwhile quickly heat up a big knob of butter and fry your sage leaves until it starts to brown.
Serve your risotto with the sage leaves on top and add a cool dollop of mascarpone on top, let it melt into the hot rice… its amazing trust me.
I served this with a beautiful kale salad, which I will have to share with you soon!
And my second favourite thing about having friends to dinner? Leftovers! Figs and mozzarella and honey. Yum.