Saturday, January 19, 2008

Risotto con zucca

A few days ago I prepared a delicious squash risotto, which I'm going to present for my blog-event, 'Fresh Produce of the Month', which this month is dedicated to Squash. You still have a few more days, so please send in some delicious entries!
The risotto I'm going to present is typically Italian, although we would use pumpkin instead of squash. In Italy there aren't as many types of squash as there are in the US, strangely enough, so right now I'm really enjoying trying out all the different varieties, and deciding which ones I like the best. For this risotto, I used two squashes, Ambercup and Carnival. You can see them here, after I baked them.
I tasted a bit of pulp before using them for the risotto, and I found that the Carnival had a delicious sweet and full taste, whereas the Ambercup was much more blend, and I used it mostly in order to give some creaminess to the sauce. If you want to have a few more information on the various types of squash that can be found in the US, look here.

Risotto alla zucca / Squash risotto
To make it, first of all bake the squash, remove the skins and cut the pulp in cubes. As you can see, I had a really big squash and a smaller one. You'll need quite a lot, if you follow the rest of the doses, and you'll end up having rice for ~10 people. Then, finely cut one big onion and sautee it on medium heat in 2 tbsp olive oil, until gold. Add 3 cups of arborio rice, and stir for a few minutes, so the rice is coated in oil. Add the squash pieces, salt (~1.5 tbsp), and cover with enough water so that you have at least half an inch of water that covers the mixture of rice and squash. This should be about 5-6 cups of water. Cover with a lid and bring to boil. Once it boils, decrease the heat, and simmer for ~15 min. Add 1/2 cup of cheese of your choice (I used blue cheese for a stronger taste, but cheddar would also work well), stir so that the cheese can melt, and cover the lid. Simmer for another 5 min, making sure that there is enough water. Adjust salt. The rice should be cooked and still firm but definitely not al dente. If it's too hard, add some HOT water and simmer for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat and let the risotto rest for about 5 minutes. This will make the rice soft and of the right consistency. Serve with some parseley, Parmesan cheese and black pepper to taste.


bee said...

this looks wonderful. i use a creamy rice from south india called rose matta (it's a red rice) for risottos. sarcrilege, i know. pumpkin and rice go very well together.

chemcookit said...

Dear Bee,
thanks! Actually, for a while I was using just short-grain rice for risotto, and the result was good in any case.. so I'm now really curious to try the red rice you suggest!

Katie Zeller said...

I made a squash risotto using Butternut earlier this season and absolutely loved it!
But you used blue cheese - what an interesting flavor combination!