There are just certain dishes that you want to eat in this cold, winter weather. On a cold night all I want to do is chill in my flat with my onesie on and eat a big bowl of comforting food, and when it comes to comfort food risotto is most definitely high up on my list. You just can’t beat it. Risotto is my go to meal when I don’t know what else to cook, and despite what some may think, it’s actually fairly easy to make. All that is required is some good quality ingredients along with a bit of love and attention and you’ve got yourself a beautiful bowl of risotto.
The most important factor when cooking a risotto is having that simmering pan of stock at the ready and making sure to add a ladle each time the rice has absorbed it all. It is a repetitive process but the end result is well worth your time and effort. I’ve chosen my favourite risotto to share with you all today, although with my recipe journal becoming rather full with my crazy risotto inventions, I doubt this will be the last one I share with you.
For this recipe I’ve used a combination of roasted chicken thighs, fresh rosemary and my absolute favourite ingredient ever, butternut squash. Along with some freshly grated parmesan and chilli flakes, for a little heat. I’ve also tried this dish with fresh thyme and sage which both taste great too, but for me, the rosemary is just perfect.
250g of roasted chicken thighs, shredded (discard the skin)
350g of butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
300g risotto rice (I use arborio rice)
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1.5 litres of good quality vegetable stock
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
50g of unsalted butter
100ml of white wine
1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
Freshly grated parmesan
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh black pepper
- Firstly, preheat oven to gas mark 4/180C or 160C for fan assisted ovens. Throw the butternut squash into a large baking tray and drizzle a generous amount of olive oil on top. Season with salt and toss together making sure everything is well coated. Add in the rosemary and roast in the oven for around 25 to 30 minutes or until soft and golden in colour. Remove from the oven and set to one side.
- Pour 1.5 litres of good quality vegetable stock into a large pan along with half of the roasted squash and all of the crispy rosemary, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a light simmer and leave bubbling away while you begin to cook your risotto.
- In a separate large pan heat half of your unsalted butter over a medium to high heat. Once melted add the chopped onions and cook until soft making sure not to brown. Add the garlic for a further couple of minutes and then pour in the uncooked risotto rice. Fry for a few minutes stirring every so often and then pour in the white wine.
- Once the wine has almost evaporated add in a ladle of your simmering veg stock and stir well. Once the rice absorbs the stock, add another ladle. Continue this process until the rice is almost cooked through. At this point add in your shredded chicken, the remaining butternut squash and a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes and mix well. Continue to add the stock until the rice is cooked. You want the rice to be a little al dente and there to be a bit of liquid left in the pan.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter along with as much freshly grated parmesan as you like. Season with salt and fresh black pepper and then serve your risotto in large bowls with an extra sprinkling of parmesan on top.