I’m unemployed. This comes with quite a few downsides, but some perks, too. For example, I don’t have to get up early in the morning (although I do, by choice); I can go see interesting things that I wouldn’t have time for otherwise; I can go to the bank without asking for a morning off; I can work on my blog and, most importantly, I can go to my neighbourhood’s Wednesday morning market. And buy fruit and vegetables. And have a huge choice. And be offered competitive prices. And (last but not least) find seasonal food. Which I love! Wednesday mornings are special.
Last Wednesday I went to the market and bought half a butternut squash (Cucirbita moschata, that I called “pumpkin” or “squash” up to now, not really knowing the difference. Throughout this post the aforementioned vegetable/fruit will be called both “pumpkin” and “squash” because really, when you cook it like this, there’s not much of a difference) with visions of tortelli di zucca, butternut cream and a side of oven-roasted squash floating in my head. I got home and showed the boyfriend, who promptly said “YUM! Risotto with sausage and pumpkin for dinner!” Oh. Yes. Not a bad plan, really. So, as usual, I researched the web, found an enormous amount of recipes, mulched them all together and made my own. Strangely though, you’ll be pleased to know that this time I have a minimum amount of measures for the recipe!
The ingredients are:
What I always do when I use sausage in a sauce (ragu, for example, or sausage with chestnuts..) is to take the meat out of the skin then mash it up with a fork. What helps this process is adding some red wine (wine always helps) and, if you feel like it, some warm broth. Wine is usually enough. Leave it like this for at least half an hour.
In the same pan you’ll cook your risotto in, warm some oil, fry the diced onion, add the sausage, salt, pepper, cinnamon. When the sausage is cooked, add the diced pumpkin and stir for about five minutes, adding warm broth if necessary. The pumpkin does not have to be cooked when you put the rice in.
Helpful hint: one glass of rice is about 200gr, enough for 2 people. Unless you use a mojito glass, of course.
When you first put in the rice, listen to it sizzle. Stir. Move it around. Wait until it goes quiet… let it absorb all the liquid it can. The more it absorbs, the better it will taste. Just before it starts sticking add the white wine and let it evaporate. Then add broth and cook your risotto like a pro!
Just before you take it off the fire, add a dollop of butter. Butter always makes thing better. Like wine, really.
Don’t forget the parmesan!
Last year, my mother and I prepared a Thanksgiving dinner for about 16 people. Or maybe they were exactly 16, I can’t really remember but…they were lots. And we made pumpkin risotto as first course.. The procedure was the same, but we emptied the small butternut squash instead of chopping them up, and then filled each one with the cooked risotto. The guests loved it and it was beautiful to see!