risotto with butternut squash and mustard greens

risotto with butternut squash and mustard greens

Risotto, as you know, is rice that is not steamed in the usual way but rather gently boiled in shallow broth which is kept hot in another pot and added continuously in small amounts as it's being absorbed. The idea is to get the rice to release its starch and to form a silky smooth consistency.

The rice is started by searing it in hot butter first, then started off boiling usually with a cup of white wine before getting on with the broth. I forgot to do that here and it was no catastrophe. Instead of butter, this version used the fat that remained from rendering bacon into bits to be included later, along with onion and diced butternut squash. After that had a good start chopped mustard greens were added mostly for drama!, and just to be different, and because I had them.

After the rice is cooked, Parmigiano cheese is added in generous quantity along with pancetta or bacon, (which I actually forgot, after all of that -- went back and sprinkled it on top)

risotto with butternut squash and mustard greens cooking

I used my own broth from the roasted chicken down there ↓ in a previous post, even though I have several cartons of commercial broth. It's always a tough decision for me as to when to use my special home-made super duper broth and when to use cop out no class commercial broth, but I have to use it sometime, so might as well be now. I'm glad I did.

I went a little bit too heavy on the Parmigiano here. ← I can't believe I just said that, but it's true. I forgot I was making a half batch and got carried away. Actually, I knocked off a nick from a large wedge and grated that. Whatever the amount came out to be measurement-wise, that was that. I'm careless that way.

parmigiano and bacon for risotto

Conclusion: This is so delicious I can't stand it. I do believe it would appeal to anybody, even picky children.

I used short-grain Japanese rice of the sort I'm used to cooking. I've noticed this has changed since I was a kid. In the bad ol' days, this type of rice used to have a lot more surface starch. A LOT more. It would be rinsed ritualistically seven times before steaming, which is a bummer for a kid cook. But now, a quick rinse under the faucet in a strainer does the trick, which is sort of nice, but this bodes ill for risotto which relies on that starch for success. I almost didn't use it for that reason. Best to stick with Arboreal rice, which is recommended, or proper risotto rice. But I was too lazy to bother and I don't care to have six different types of rice on hand for specific purposes. Maybe I'll make an exception. I would hold suspect any package that was marketed as being specifically for risotto, wary of a ploy, and instead search out a specific named species. This rice was OK, but it wouldn't win any risotto contest. An Italian who knew their risotto would find objection. My version clumsily disguised that flaw with an excess of Parmigiano, which an expert would also probably object. See rice varieties. (It might be helpful to use CNTL/F or Command/F then search "risotto" to take you to the spots on the page that address this interest and lead you directly to the useful varieties and skip all that other nonsense varieties, unless you enjoy scanning the wonderful universe of strange rice varieties.

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