Butternut and Bacon Risotto

Autumn is a lovely time for cooking and a great excuse to bring-on the heart warming comfort food that make the shorter nights bearable. I’d planned on making a risotto for Sunday night tea, but purely bacon and mushroom. The squash was an after thought after I didn’t manage to use it in a soup, but what a discovery…..roasted and stirred into the risotto at the end creates the most amazing tasting sauce that’s thick and unctuous and just what you need to chase the cold nights away. Risotto is so versatile, once you have a basic recipe you can mould it to your needs.

Serves 2 hungry boys, and 2 adults

1 leek, chopped into small pieces
1 clove of garlic
6 rashers, good quality smoked bacon
Knob of butter
1 tblspn olive oil
300g Arborio(Risotto) Rice
1 Glass of wine or sherry
200g Chestnut Mushrooms, quartered
Optional – Butternut Squash, roasted see below
Optional – Butter Beans (Which I had left over from cooking too many – use tinned for ease)
75-100g Gruyere or Parmesan grated
1l of stock (I used Bouillon). Hot.

You need a good sized pan that will take a litre of stock, mushrooms and rice and allows a good stir….I chose a pot that was too small! I managed though!

1, Chop up the bacon into bite size pieces and fry the bacon in the olive oil until it starts to colour, decant the bacon onto a plate. Try to keep the juices in the pot.
2, Add the butter and melt, stir in the leek and soften, crush the garlic and add to the leek.
3, Add the rice and coat, in the leek, butter and garlic. The idea is to the heat the rice right through so that’s ready to start absorbing all the liquid we are going to throw at it
4, Pour in the wine, and stir…this will be quickly absorbed
5, Add a ladle of the stock, and stir until absorbed….repeat this until you have a little of the stock left……I find this process quite satisfying, and if you like a glass of wine whilst you cook….this is the perfect time!
6, Add the mushrooms
7, Stir in the butternut squash
8, Stir in the butter beans if using
9, Add the extra stock if you need it
9, Add you bacon back in
11, Stir in the cheese and serve

Roasted Squash
1, Chop the squash in half and scoop out the seeds
2, Rub a little olive oil on the flesh of each half
3, Place on a roasting tray and into a hot oven (180c) for 40 mins
4, Allow to cool and then you can scoop out the soft flesh

I had quite a large squash so only used half for the above recipe and used the other half for soup.


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