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I am of the opinion that chorizo makes everything better. That and it’s so cold here at the moment that I’m feeling a little lazy to cook, so one-pan meals are a bit of a winner. Hmm, I just realised you really need two pans, one to heat up the stock, but nevermind.

Risotto is a lot easier and quicker than most people realise. You can do this in 30 minutes for a two person serve and it’s a such a lovely and warming comfort food.

I wish I  had a story to tell you about this, but I don’t. We had not much in the fridge other than half a butternut and a chorizo and neither of us wanted to do a grocery run. End of story. I even cheated and used powder stock (gasp!) and it tasted pretty good anyway.

Butternut Risotto with Chorizo (or Sage for vegetarians) 
serves 4  

700g butternut pieces
1 tsp ground paprika
drizzle of olive oil

1 small brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
200g arborio rice
60ml vermouth, or dry white wine (optional)
600ml stock, chicken or vegetable
2 tbsp butter
25g grated parmesan, and parmesan shavings to serve
1-2 chorizo, thinly sliced (or substitute fried sage leaves for vegetarians and vegans)

  1. Place butternut pieces in a baking tray, sprinkle with paprika and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 180C for about 30-45 minutes until a the pieces are easily pierced with a fork. Roughly mash with a fork, it’s good to leave some larger chunks, and set aside.
  2. Gently heat stock in a small saucepan. I cheated and used powdered stock here.
  3. Heat oil in a large frypan and fry chorizo until browned. Drain and set aside.
    • If making the vegetarian version, heat 2 tbsp of oil and quickly drop in sage leaves for about 5-10 seconds. Drain and set aside.
  4. On a medium heat and using the same pan, fry diced onions, garlic and celery until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add arborio rice and stir until the outer coating of the rice is translucent.
  5. Add vermouth or wine, and stir to combine. Add stock, one ladleful at a time, until it is absorbed by the rice. Make sure to keep stirring so that the rice doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat up or down so that the mixture is at a gentle simmer.
  6. About halfway through the stock mixture, add all the mashed butternut. Taste the rice – it should have some resistance in the middle. If that’s not a helpful descriptor to you (it wasn’t to me), bite a grain of rice – it should have a little white dot in the centre. A little undercooked is fine as it will keep cooking during the next few minutes. If it is not cooked, keep adding stock a ladleful at a time.
  7. When you think the rice is cooked, add one more ladleful of stock. Add the butter and grated parmesan and stir through. Cover and let it rest for two minutes.
  8. Top with freshly cracked pepper, chorizo and grated parmesan to serve.

Tips for perfect risotto:

  • Never add cold stock to a warm risotto. It lowers the temperature of the rice and makes it stodgy.
  • Good stock makes a good risotto and gives it a much nicer mouthfeel. That said, I cheated and used powdered stock for this one and it was not as bad as I thought it  would be.
  • When you think the rice is cooked, add one more ladleful of stock – it gives the risotto a slightly looser, less stodgy texture.
  • Leftoever risotto is gross – make it into arancini instead.