Risotto is a lovely winter comfort dish, and although it's a bit of a faff, it's really not difficult. I actually find standing in front of the hob stirring quite relaxing, and once you've got the basic onion-rice-booze-stock combo down it's very easy to make whatever variety of risotto you like.
Please make sure you use proper risotto rice though (I use either Carnaroli or Arborio, although you can also get a variety called Vialo Nanone) as otherwise you won't get that lovely creamy texture that makes risotto great.
And I know putting Amaretto in a savoury risotto sounds funny, but trust me - it's good! It gives an underlying flavour that goes really well with the squash, but if you prefer you can substitute another spirit like vermouth.
Squash, Spinach & Goats' Cheese Risotto (serves 2)
- 1 squash - any type (I used an onion squash)
- 1 onion, diced
- 750ml vegetable stock
- A pinch of cumin, nutmeg and cinnamon
- A pinch of saffron
- 150g risotto rice
- 50ml Amaretto liqueur
- 1 small chunk of goats' cheese, chopped or torn up
- 1 small bag of baby spinach, washed
- Preheat the oven to 180c / Gas 4. Cut the squash in half and scoop the seeds and stringy bits out with a spoon. Rub the halves with olive oil, sprinkle over some salt and pepper. Bung them in the oven for 45 minutes until soft.
- Once the squash is cooked, let it cool a bit before scooping the flesh out of the skin and chopping roughly, set aside.
- Put a bit of oil into a saucepan and sweat the onion until it's soft but not coloured. While you're doing this, put the stock into another saucepan and warm it through. It shouldn't be boiling madly, but it needs to be hot.
- Add the spices and risotto rice to the onion and stir well to coat the grains with oil. Fry for a couple of minutes until the spices are nice and fragrant.
- Slosh in the Amaretto and let it bubble away until it's almost dry.
- Now for the stirring. Add a ladle of hot stock and stir, stir, stir while the risotto simmers away.
- Once the stock has been absorbed, add another ladleful and keep stirring.
- Keep going for around 20 minutes. Test the rice to see if it's cooked - it shouldn't be crunchy! The risotto rice will give a nice, natural creaminess.
- Once the rice is cooked stir through the cheese, spinach and squash to melt the cheese, wilt the spinach and warm the squash.