This time of year gets me thinking about when I first met my husband and the very first meal he cooked me. Contrary to my friends concerns that he was a ‘one-trick-pony’ with his meal repertoire, he is a fantastic chef and actually does a large amount of the cooking at home.
His signature dish though, is fantastic, and is one of the few fancier meals that he cooks; as a family we tend to eat more rustic dishes and this one does have a rustic, wholesome feel but with a few more expensive ingredients it does transform it to a whole other level.
As we prepare this dinner together tonight, the colours and smells of the food transforms me back to his balmy sunny flat is Islington.
We sit sipping a lovely crisp chardonnay whilst we begin...
1 medium white chopped onion
1 clove crushed garlic
1 medium butternut squash, diced
250g Arborio risotto rice
2 fillets of lightly smoked salmon, skinned and diced
125ml White wine
500ml fish or vegetable stock
Knob of butter
1. Firstly, sweat off the onions, garlic and butternut squash in a pan with butter for about 5 minutes with salt and pepper
2. Add the risotto rice and fry until translucent. Keep it moving so that it doesn’t stick to the pan
3. Add 125ml of white wine and allow rice to soak it up
4. Start to add stock gradually, allowing the rice to absorb the moisture. Don’t let the rice boil dry. Throw in the basil, thyme and smoked salmon along with the first ladle of stock.
5. Continue to add the stock one ladle at a time, stir to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick but don’t do it continuously or you’ll end up with pudding!
6. The butternut, salmon and rice should be cooked after about twenty minutes. Add the spinach and stir. Once wilted, crumble over the goats cheese and serve
7. Eat and enjoy!
Written by Jo Farren Herbalist for Cibare magazine.
For more Risotto recipes see our third issue on our front page!