Monday, October 7, 2013

Did I told you that I'm going to make some dishes using butternut squash? Now, using what I have left from my squash, I'm going to make chicken and butternut squash risotto for dinner. I've been wanting to make risotto from scratch and finally today I have a chance to make it.

Risotto is an Italian rice dishes cooked in broth until it has creamy consistency. Properly cooked risotto is rich and creamy with some resistance or bite with separate grains. Italian people will call it al dente.  The rice should be still a bit firm and in a good shape and not broken or too soft like porridge. the texture is depend on the varieties of rice that is used as well. Risotto is usually made using short grain rice. It has high amylopectin but low in amylose. This condition will make the rice become a little bit sticky and soft after it's cooked because this kind of rice has the ability to absorb more water and release starch. It is different from common type of rice from south east Asia. They usually has long grain rice which has low amylopectin and high in amylose. This type of  rice is not as sticky as short grain rice.

This time I'm making chicken and butternut squash risotto. It is not that hard to make. I'm using sushi rice for the risotto instead of pandan or basmati rice because sushi rice has characteristics that are needed for making risotto. For making risotto it is much better if all the ingredients are prepared before. The broth has to be ready and slightly boiled, the chicken and the butternut squash have to be cooked before. Let's get started.

Ingredients :
  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 200 grams butternut squash, cut into cubes
  • 150 grams boneless chicken, cut into cubes  
  • 3 strips bacon, sliced (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 100 grams grated  cheese
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) white wine (optional)
  • 700 -1000 ml (3-4 cups) hot chicken broth 
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Preparation :

First, lets prepare the butternut squash. 
  1. Preheat the oven for 200 C (392 F). 
  2. Line the baking sheet with aluminium foil. 
  3. Spread the squash cubes on the baking sheet, toss some olive oil, and sprinkle some salt and pepper. 
  4. Put the baking sheet into preheated oven, and bake it for about  20-25 minutes.
  5. Once the squash become tender, remove it from the oven and set aside.
Now, lets make the risotto.
  1. In a big pan or heavy duty pot, preheat some (about 3-4 tbs) olive oil. 
  2. Put the chicken and bacon into the pan and saute them until the chicken are cooked.
  3. Remove the chicken and the bacon from the pan and set aside.
  4. On the same pan, heat some butter until melted.
  5. Add minced onion and garlic and saute them until the onion become translucent and the color become slightly brown.
  6. Add sushi rice into the pan. 
  7. Keep stirring the rice continuously until the rice is covered with butter, the edge of the rice is become translucent, but the center of the rice is opaque. At this stage, maybe some of the rice become slightly brown. Be careful not to burn the rice.  
  8. Splash some white wine into the pan. Keep stirring until the wine is evaporated. (This process is optional)
  9. Slowly add 1 ladle of hot chicken broth into the pan and stir.
  10. Add another ladle of chicken broth after the liquid is almost completely absorbed by the rice. Do not rush this step to make the rice become creamy and cooked.
  11. Repeat this process until the rice starts a little bit difficult to absorb water. This process will take about 15-20 minutes depend on the rice. For make sure, just take a spoon and taste the firmness of the rice. At this step when you bite the rice, it should be firm and chewy, not hard and crunchy, but not too soft and easily squashed like porridge.
  12. Add 1 last ladle of chicken broth, cooked chicken and bacon, roasted squash, and grated cheese. Stir again and mix them well. 
  13. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
  14. Serve the risotto immediately 

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