My lovely fiance William, best friend Jackie and I went out to Pakiri on sunday to help another friend Claire at a Child Cancer Foundation BBQ. On the way back I was enticed by the many fruit and vege stalls on the roadside. We stopped at one and I grabbed some squash, onions, courgette and some aborio rice (we were at the last one, closest to town, so there were a few fancy pants ingredients too).
At home I have a whole cook book about rice, and it has a section on risotto. I had a quick read of this and got the basic idea down. Luckily we had some homemade chicken stock in the freezer so after defrosting it, it was time to start making dinner:
Caramelised squash and courgette risotto
2 cloves garlic
2 sticks celery
1 small green capsicum
1/2 a small squash, cubed
2t golden syrup
1 courgette sliced maybe 1/2 cm think
1 litre of chicken stock - the best you can get. This is the flavour of the dish
1 c aborio rice
Some herbs - basil, thyme, sage, parsley
Get your stock to a simmer in a pot on the stove - you want it hot to add to the risotto as you stir.
Cube your squash and chop your courgette. Steam the squash till al dente in a heavy pan. Pour off the water and add some butter or oil to crisp it up, part the way through add the golden syrup. Once this is done add courgette, turn the pan off with the lid on.
In another heavy pan heat some butter and oil and add your finely sliced onion, garlic, celery and capsicum. Fry down till soft - don't brown. Add your rice and cook for a couple of minutes, you want the rice to start turning translucent and be covered in your oniony, buttery mix. Do not toast the rice.
Start adding your stock by the ladle full. Stir till the liquid is gone, add another ladle, and keep stirring, wait till the stock is almost gone, and keep massaging the rice. You want to get all that starch out so you get a delicious soft saucey risotto at the end. The risotto should be simmering. After about four - five ladles check the rice for doneness and start seasoning with salt and pepper.
After awhile you should really see a thick sauce building up around the risotto.
When the rice is soft you're at your last ladle. Add your squash mix, herbs and final stock. Once this stock is combined you're done.
At this stage you could add extra butter or parmesan cheese, but we didn't have any cheese, and I kinda felt that I didn't need the extra fat of the butter - the risotto was already wonderfully creamy.
I love. Will be keeping aborio and stock on hand - as it's an excellent 'what's left in the fridge?' dinner idea.