Thursday, October 9, 2008

Saffron and Pumpkin Risotto For Barefoot Bloggers


Rice is probably the preferred staple in this house, and we eat it every which way: boiled, fried, salads, risotto, you name it. And if I had to pick between all of them, risotto is my favourite because it lends itself to whatever is in season or in the fridge, with great leftovers for the children's lunches. Even better, despite its somewhat difficult reputation, risotto is not a difficult dish to master. You don't even need to spend the stirring time at the stove if you don't want to - just bring the rice and stock to the boil on the stove and then oven bake like this.


But when you have the time, making it the old-fashioned way is a lovely way to cook. This week's challenge to the Barefoot Bloggers was a Saffron Risotto with Butternut Pumpkin (Squash). I spent yesterday afternoon pottering around the kitchen watching and stirring as the risotto slowly plumped. I loved this dish - it was very tasty, and the slightly bitter flavour of the saffron cut the richness of the parmesan and pancetta, and the colour was, of course, glorious. My only modifications were halving the recipe, using a mixture of chicken and vegetable stock (because that is what I had), and topping the risotto with some fried shredded leek for the contrasting crunch and some extra onion-y flavour. We ate it as a side dish with glazed roast lamb rack, and steamed snow peas. Delicious.

This week's wonderful recipe for the Barefoot Bloggers was chosen by Rachel of Rachel Likes To Cook. Have a look and see how all the other Barefoot Bloggers enjoyed the recipe here.

Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash (Pumpkin)

1 butternut pumpkin (squash)
2 tbls olive oil
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 tbls unsalted butter
60g pancetta, diced
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 200C. Peel the pumpkin, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.
In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and parmesan. Stir well and serve.

18 comments:

Andrea said...

Your risotto looks beautiful! I had no idea you could do risotto in the oven, thanks for the tip. I'm wondering if I added too much saffron to mine because it was so bright orange. Oh-well. We loved this dish too, my kids weren't big fans, but I thought it was so delicious!

Rebecca said...

Yes, I will be over for dinner. ;) This recipe is definitely a keeper.

chocolatechic said...

Love the addition of the fried leeks.

Cathy said...

Wow, your entire menu sounds wonderful! I thought this was one of the best dishes I've tried in a long time. Yours looks lovely!

Prudy said...

Oh that is just gorgeous! I have an oven recipe and didn't use it, but I sure thought about it. The fried leeks are making me want this again for dinner tonight.

webbie said...

Your photos are great and the menu sounds great. I made some Blondies while stirring my risotto and neither recipe suffered for it.

1freshstart said...

Wow, that sounds amazing!
~Cat

Bellini Valli said...

I loved this recipe. Leave it Ina to perfect risotto:D

Natashya said...

Fried leeks on top, brilliant! I love it, the crispiness would be perfect with the creamy rice.

Peggy said...

Oh it looks so beautiful! I love the leek idea. I'm now wanting to try that!

Michelle Ioapo A'etonu said...

wow! yours came out great and i'm glad you liked it!

Tanya said...

Your risotto looks beautiful - very warm and comforting. It occurred to me as I was stirring away if it was possible to bake it like you suggested.

Summer said...

Wow, it's sounds like you had a delicious meal! The fired leeks were a lovely idea. Yummy!

Esi said...

Oh, the fried leeks look so fantastic!! Nice job!

Misty said...

Great idea with the fried leeks. And you can make risotto in the microwave with nearly the same results (though it always boils over when I do it).

Debinhawaii said...

I bet the fried leekd were incredible in it. Great job, it looks wonderful!

Anne said...

Wow, your risotto looks wonderful with the leeks on top! Thanks for tips about alternate ways of preparing it, too! Nice job-

Patty said...

Hi...Just want to let you know I made this for dinner the other night and it was a big hit! The saffron was yummy. Made some extra risotto base and froze it so I can whip this out easily.