Friday, November 2, 2012

Peter Gordon's butternut squash and leek risotto

60g butter
1 handful sage leaves, torn
500g diced, peeled butternut squash or
2 litres light vegetable or chicken stock
1 leek, rinsed and sliced
2 bay leaves
350g risotto rice
4 tbsp soy sauce, plus extra for seasoning
50g Parmesan, grated
100g mascarpone (optional)

The addition of soy sauce to risotto is completely unorthodox, but it makes it really tasty. I love sage with butternut squash, but thyme, oregano and rosemary also work well.

Cook half the butter until it turns golden brown. Add the sage leaves and cook until they wilt, then add the squash or pumpkin and cook over a moderate heat for a minute, stirring frequently to coat the squash with butter.

Add 250ml of the stock and cook over a high heat with a lid on until the squash is almost cooked through, stirring occasionally. Once it's ready, mash about a quarter of it in the pot and keep warm. Bring the rest of the stock to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a larger pot heat up the remaining butter and when it begins to sizzle add the leek and bay leaves and cook until the leek has completely softened. Add rice and a little salt and cook over medium-high heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in enough stock to cover the rice by 2cm, then turn the heat down to a rapid simmer. Leave it to gently cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in another 250ml of stock, then leave until it is nearly absorbed. The rice must be covered with stock at all times – even if just by a few millimetres.

Keep cooking this way and after 12 minutes the rice should be al dente, softening on the outside and a little firm in the centre. At this point, stir in the squash mixture and soy sauce and continue cooking until the rice is just cooked.

Put a lid on the pot, turn the heat off and leave to rest for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the Parmesan and mascarpone (if using) and taste for seasoning, adding extra soy or salt to taste, and serve immediately.