Butternut Squash, Chorizo and Asparagus Risotto

As I’m sure you can tell from my recipe archive, pasta is one of my all-time favourite dishes. I love all types of pasta in all shapes and sizes, but for me risotto is queen of them all!

What I love about risotto is that once you have mastered a basic recipe, this can then become your base to get creative – trying all kinds of different flavour combinations and ideas.

My usual risotto recipe is a spicy red pepper, chilli, tomato and pancetta, but I fancied trying something different. Hence this recipe was born! Even though this was the first time I’ve tried this particular combo, it worked a treat and was very successful with my flatmate!

Hope you enjoy it too πŸ™‚

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 175-200g arborio rice
  • 2 white onions finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 large glass white wine
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 200-250g cubed chorizo
  • 1 small or Β½ large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 bunches asparagus, cut into 1 inch long pieces, removing the woody ends
  • 50g butter
  • 50g grated parmesan cheese

Method:

Peel and cube your butternut squash and place on a large roasting tray with a covering of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in a fan oven at 180 degrees celsius for 30 minutes until cooked and tender.

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Whilst the butternut squash is cooking you can start the risotto!

Put a large non-stick saucepan or frying pan on the heat to warm up whilst you finely chop your onions and garlic. Add a glug of olive oil to the pan and brown the onions, garlic and cubed chorizo for a couple of minutes.

Once nicely browned, add the risotto rice and stir constantly for another couple of minutes until the rice becomes translucent. Add the wine and stir until it’s nearly all absorbed.

At this point you need to make sure the heat is set so it’s simmering moderately (but not to vigorously!). Have your litre of vegetable stock at the ready and add one ladle at a time, stirring constantly until the majority of the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladle. N.B. The consistency once absorbed should be thick and sticky.

This process will take around 20-30 minutes and can be quite tough on the arm – but don’t give up, the end result is worth it!

(Test the rice after about 20 minutes to see if cooked through and soft – if it is not soft when you have used up all the stock then make up some more to add.)

Once the butternut squash is ready, add this to the risotto mixture along with the asparagus, and cook for another 5 or so minutes until the asparagus is tender.

Risotto (2)

Once you are certain all the excess liquid is absorbed and everything is fully cooked through, take the risotto off the heat and stir through the parmesan and butter, along with a generous grinding of salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly until the butter and cheese is totally melted and incorporated into the risotto.

Risotto 3

Serve in nice big pasta dishes and enjoy with a nice glass of vino! πŸ˜€ Yumbola!

Bon Appetit!

Bon Appetit!

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Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

On a nice sunny autumnal Sunday I decided to use the remaining butternut squash up in a soup – I find this soup a great winter warmer and I can’t get enough of it! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do πŸ™‚

N.B. – I find with soup a lot of it is down to preference – many soups can be made thin, think, chunky or smooth whilst all using the same ingredients, so please feel free to adapt my below recipe to suit your needs if you prefer it a different way !

Soup Ingredients (makes 10 portions)

  • 2 medium and 1 small butternut squash
  • 4 pints of chicken stock (two cubes)
  • 3 large onions
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 3 ounces of butter
  • 2.5 tsp cumin seeds (or powder)
  • 5 tsp red chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper

Toppings (for 1 portion)

  • 3-5 slices of pancetta (depending on how much you like it!)
  • A fine shaving of parmesan
  • A swirl of smoked rapeseed oil
  • Additional salt and pepper

Method:

Firstly, you either need a very sharp large knife, a strong man, or both! πŸ˜› Slice your butternut squash length ways into quarters, place on a couple of large baking trays and brush with olive oil. After this, scatter across a generous helping of salt and pepper along with the chilli flakes and cumin seeds.

N.B. – I used dried red chilli from my garden for this recipe, which tend to vary in hotness, but are pretty powerful none the less! However you can buy chilli flakes by the jar, which are generally a medium hotness – sometimes it will say on the jar how hot they are also – so keep your eyes peeled if you are not good with too much spice!

Once your butternut squash are prepared with the spices, place the trays in the oven (180-200 degrees celsius) for about 40 minutes. (If your butternut squash quarters are quite thick they may take slightly longer to cook.)

Whilst your butternut squash is nicely roasting, prepare your garlic and onion, by finely slicing. When your butternut squash is tender when inserting a fork it is ready, take out and leave to cool for a few minutes. Once cool, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh from the skins, and put it to the side in a large bowl and mash into small chunks using a wooden spoon ready for the next stage.

Butternut squash soup.5

Place the butter in a large saucepan and heat until melted, then cook the onions and garlic in the butter until soft. Next, add 4 litres (or less if you like a thicker soup – but remember this will mean it won’t feed as many people!) of good quality chicken stock. I find the Knorr Chicken Stock Pot Gel nicely intense and flavoursome.

Butternut squash soup.1

Heat until simmering, and then add the butternut squash. Let it heat up gradually until simmering again, and simmer for 5 minutes. Take your soup mixture off the heat and spoon into a food blender – you may need to do this in two stages! Blend until smooth, and put your finished soup altogether into a large casserole sized dish, giving a final mix and taste – adding more salt and pepper if needed.

Butternut squash soup.3

When you are ready for your own bowl of soup, reheat an individual portion either in a saucepan on the hob, or in the microwave for about 3-6 minutes. Whilst your soup is heating, grill or fry your pancetta until crisp, then fold in kitchen paper to get rid of any extra grease.

When your soup is ready, grate a small amount of parmesan over the top, grind over a little more salt and pepper, add a swirl of smoked rapeseed oil and place or crumble your pancetta on top – and voila!

Enjoy by the fire with a nice glass of wine πŸ˜€

Butternut squash soup.4

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