Receipe of the month

Butternut squash, pancetta and sage risotto

Ingredients
1. 1 small butternut squash
2. 150g cubed pancetta
3. 10 sage leaves
4. 2.5 litres chicken stock
5. 50g butter
6. 1 onion very finely chopped (the pieces should be the same size as the grains of rice)
7. 400g carnaroli rice
8. 125ml dry white wine
9. a little grated nutmeg
10. salt & pepper

For the mantecatura

1. 75g cold butter, cut into small dice
2. 100g finely grated parmeggiano reggiano
Method

1. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways, season with salt and pepper and roast for about 35 minutes until the flesh is soft and you can scoop it out with a spoon.

2. Fry the pancetta until coloured and as crispy as you like it to be.

3. Roughly chop the sage leaves, heat a knob of butter in a small frying pan and as the butter begins to foam add the sage. Set aside.

4. Put the stock in a large pan on a low simmer, next to this pan put another heavy based pan (large enough to hold the risotto) and in this heat the butter to melt.

5. Add the onion and half of the butternut squash to the melting butter and cook very slowly for about 5 minutes so that the onion is translucent – not browned at all.

6. Turn up the heat to medium and add the rice, stirring and coating the grains in the buttery onions, so that they are heated through but not browned.

7. Add the wine, stirring and reducing until it has almost totally evaporated and there is no alcohol left.

8. From this point on the process of adding the stock should take 17 minutes.

9. Add the stock a ladle at a time, each time continuously stirring and scraping the base of the pan, making sure the rice cooks evenly. Each ladle of stock should be almost completely absorbed before adding the next.

10. After about 11 minutes add the rest of the butternut squash, this will add extra liquid, so be careful to adjust the amount of stock you add accordingly otherwise the risotto will become too wet and soupy.

11. Continue adding stock, but you should find you need to add less each time as the rice cooks.

12. Check the rice to see if it is cooked, it should be plump but still a little firm to the bite.

13. After 17 minutes of cooking add the pancetta, stir and leave to rest for 1 minute, covered and without stirring.

14. The following step is a tip from the mighty Giorgio Locatelli and one of the best methods I have ever discovered, it makes such a difference to the consistency of the risotto.
The mantecatura:

1. Quickly beat in the cold diced butter, then beat in the parmesan, moving your beating hand as quickly as possible. The result should be a risotto that is creamy, rich and emulsified.

2. Stir in the sage leaves and season to taste.

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