Now that I’ve fully and truly let go of the childhood notion that I don’t like risotto, I have opened the door to a whole new world of possibilities. The basics are always the same, but the amount of different variations is almost endless. Instead of feeding the stock to the rice by the spoonful, I, and many Italians with me, simply use a pressure cooker. It might lack the romance of the more traditional methods, but it saves time and energy and yields perfect risotto in ten minutes. It’s so foolproof, I can give my undivided attention to the other ingredients. This time, I combined the rice with oven-roasted butternut squash, pecorino cheese and brown sage butter: a hearty meal to make it through the final month of winter. I’m already wondering what my next risotto will be like. So, what is your favourite version? And why should I try it?
Ingredients (for 2) using the pressure cooking method:
200 g risotto rice
400 ml vegetable stock
120 ml crisp, dry white wine
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small/medium-sized butternut squash, in cubes
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp dried sage
urfa biber chili flakes
pecorino (or parmiggiano reggiano), finely grated
fresh herbs (optional)
- Heat the oven to 200-225 degrees (fan).
- Start with the squash. Cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- Slice into rings and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin, then cut them into small cubes.
- Transfer them to an oven tray, toss with olive oil, salt and coriander and bake for 30-40 minutes.
- Put the pressure cooker on medium heat, add a glug of olive oil and sweat the chopped onion until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and stir for 2 minutes more.
- Turn up the heat and add the rice. Stir for a couple of minutes.
- Add the white wine and reduce.
- Add the stock and stir well
- Add half of the baked squash. Now put on the lid of the pressure cooker and bring up to high pressure.
- Once the pressure indicator has popped up, turn down the heat and pressure cook for 10 minutes.
- Melt the butter with the dried sage in a small saucepan until it turns golden brown.
- Depressurise the pressure cooker by holding it under a cold, running tap. Take off the lid and return the pan to the stove on low heat.
- With a wooden spoon, mash the squash cubes against the sides of the pan and gently stir them through the rice.
- Stir in the brown sage butter and the cheese, and finally add the rest of the squash cubes.
- Sprinkle with chili flakes and garnish with fresh herbs (coriander, parsley or basil).