Monday, January 13, 2014

Risotto with Squash, Chestnuts and Prosecco



Have you got any half-full bottles of prosecco or champagne left over from New Year's festivities? OK, don't scoff -- there are some of us who don't quaff down a whole bottle in one sitting. In addition to the leftover prosecco, there were a dozen chestnuts and a small hunk of butternut squash in the fridge still uncooked and in search of a recipe. Hence the amalgam of these ingredients and birth of this risotto dish.
You can also use already-peeled chestnuts from France that come in a glass jar, but since I had these fresh ones, I cut them in half and plunked them into a pot of boiling water - not long enough to cook them through, but long enough to loosen the shell and pry out the interior. Click here for a more thorough explanation of how to do it. 
I thought I'd finally inaugurate this heavy copper pot with the risotto - a pot I bought in the town of Guardiagrele, Italy last summer, but still hadn't used.  It reminded to me that I've got a lot of kitchen tools that sit around unused because they're in cabinets where I don't often see them. So I'm taking it upon myself to pull out some of these pots, pans, and other gadgets more frequently in my attempt to "use it or lose it."
After cooking the risotto in this copper pot, I may never make risotto again in any other vessel. The heavy-gauge pan ensures really even cooking without any hot spots. And it's beautiful to look at as well.
Make sure you have all the necessary ingredients at the ready before starting to cook. Missing, but vital, to the dish, is the prosecco (use dry white wine if you haven't got prosecco), as well as butter and extra virgin olive oil. Dice the squash into small pieces because the squash needs to be small enough to cook while you're stirring it into the risotto. That should take only about 20 minutes. Make sure you make a little extra risotto, because my next post is a truly irresistible treat using leftover risotto.
First thing you do is soften the shallots in a mixture of butter and olive oil, then stir the grains of risotto about for a bit -- a process called "tostatura." You don't want the grains to turn brown, so just quickly heat the exterior for three or four minutes or until the grains are opaque. This will allow the rice to soak up the liquids without becoming soggy. By the way, make sure to use carnaroli, vialone nano or arborio rice, short grain varieties that release a lot of starch, adding a creaminess to the dish. 
Then it's time for the prosecco (or dry white wine). Don't forget the cook needs a sample!
Add the vegetables and chestnuts, and a bit of chicken broth, a ladle full at a time. When the rice is cooked (about 20 minutes or so), it's time for the "mantecatura."  Take it off the heat, add some dollops of cold butter ...
and the parmesan cheese. Dig in.

Risotto with squash, chestnuts and prosecco

printable recipe here

1 cup rice - arborio, carnaroli or vialone nano
1 large shallot
2 T. butter
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup butternut squash, diced in small pieces
1/2 cup chestnuts, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup dry white wine or prosecco
2 cups (or more) hot chicken broth
a couple more tablespoons butter and parmesan cheese to taste (1/4 cup) for the mantecatura

Place the olive oil and butter in a saucepan and add the rice. Toss the rice for a few minutes to coat, but don't let the grains brown. Pour in the prosecco and stir, then add the squash and chestnuts and a ladleful of the broth. Continue stirring and continue adding broth, one ladle at a time, until the rice is cooked and tender to the bite. Season with salt and white pepper. Remove from the heat and add the cold butter and parmesan cheese.

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19 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A fabulous combination and refined dish! This risotto is mouthwatering.

Cheers,

Rosa

Frank Fariello said...

Risotto really is ideal for 'svuotafrigo' cooking like this. What a lovely combination of seasonal flavors!

And I have serious pot-envy. That risotto pot is gorgeous.

Helen said...

Well, I have the pan and some chestnuts! Linda, I have a bottle of Asti (gift) that I definitely won't drink. Can I use Asti instead of my precious Prosecco ?

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

I have leftover Prosecco and was going to make risotto this week. Looks delicious!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Helen - No, I wouldn't use Asti - it's too sweet for risotto. Use it for a nice zabaglione - or drink it.

Debby Foodiewife said...

That is one gorgeous pot! I love risottto and this one is no exception. Leftover prosecco? Hmmm, doesn't happen in our kitchen. I always have a dry white wine. Happy New Year, Linda.

Daniela said...

Fantastico il tuo risotto, mi pare di sentirne il profumo. Un abbraccio Daniela.

AdriBarr said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely. My, but I bet that was delicious, and didn't Martha Stewart say "Every cook should have a copper pot!" What a beautiful piece of cookware. It is a work of art. Somehow cooking with special pieces like that enhances the entire experience. May you enjoy it for many years to come.

mltucker said...

Linda, This dish and the copper pot look great. I might have to wait for the right weather and for the local produce to be available in season here in Adelaide!

Looks like a 'winter warmer' and we are having a 42 Celcius/ 114 Farenheit kind of week...Cheers! Ciao for now. MLT

Proud Italian Cook said...

Well I have no Prosecco because I had too much fun drinking it over the holidays but next time I pop open a bottle I will save a little for risotto, such a nice touch. Now where did you get such a beautiful pot? I want!

Chiara Giglio said...

il risotto cucinato nella pentola di rame è fantastico, la uso sempre !

Unknown said...

Fresh chestnuts taste far better than canned or jarred. I am happy to have this slice, boil and peel method introduced to me. GREG

Unknown said...

Fresh chestnuts taste far better than canned or jarred. I am happy to have this slice, boil and peel method introduced to me. GREG

Stacey Snacks said...

I never have leftover champagne! However, I made a chicken dish with artichokes w/a bottle of Prosecco once, because I had no white wine in the house!

Sheryll And Critters. said...

Thank you for this . another great recipe. I hope to make it sometime really soon. I am so very grateful for your suggestion to just cut the Chestnuts in half.... duh I am so stupid. And also, I am not sure where to find them here in Jacksonville, FL?

And very happy congrats on your copper pot. I will be thinking of you creating your master dishes in it and it will so benefit all of your adoring devotee's..... err, is that correct?

Claudia said...

Oh this is one warming, gorgeous dish. I never can get enough variations for risotto. Love the depth from the chestnuts - just a warm winter blanket. Printing. I have leftover nothing. So I need everything.

Michelle - Majella Home Cooking said...

What a beautiful and elegant dish, Linda. Warm and comforting yet "special" enough for a winter dinner party. Complimenti!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Now that is the best way to use ingredients left from the holidays that I've seen! Congrats on a winning combination.

Roz Corieri Paige said...

You're not going to believe this Linda, but I just bought a pound of Italian chestnuts . . . I can't even believe how found them in S.C.! But besides roasting, you've just helped me know how to cook them to get the shells off. This risotto looks and sounds delicioso!
xo
Roz