Did I ever mention that it is really cold here in the Winter? Well, the temperatures aren’t so cold (usually +/- 5? C), but so far it has been a very wet Winter with some type of precipitation almost every day. My husband even took a picture during one of the snows we had last week – the snow is beautiful for sure! But that dampness combined with the wind and chill is enough to make anyone want to curl up in their favorite wool sweater with a large mug of tea and just forget the outdoors. Part of that comes from the amount of walking outside that one does here on a daily basis, which is not the most pleasant when it’s cold and rainy/snowy/icy/etc. out. This risotto was meant for just one of those days, made with wine, squash, chanterelles, and sausage, specifically saucisson vaudois.
We (my husband and I) debated for a while about putting cheese in this or not. In the end we didn’t. It had so much great flavor we wanted to just leave it alone and enjoy it as is. If you make this, and decide to add some cheese, let me know what you added and how it came out, I’m curious. As for the squash, I have no idea what type of squash it was. It looked like a slice from a giant pumpkin, but the woman selling it at the market didn’t call it potiron (French for pumpkin), she simply called it courge when I asked her its name, which in French simply means “squash” according to my trusty Google translator. So I have no idea. It definitely wasn’t a pumpkin though, I could tell that immediately by the taste, and also by the fact that its skin was more akin to a butternut squash. Maybe someone can let me know. But if you find a giant pumpkin looking veggie with a butternut squash type skin, that was it. It was delicious, definitely pick it up!
Oh, and for those of you curious about the saucisson vaudois, which I also used with chanterelles to make an awesome omelette, this is what it looks like:
Isn’t that marbling of fat and meat together just beautiful? So far I think I could very much enjoy the Swiss culture of food. And I still love how every time I walk into a grocery store I find a good 2 aisles dedicated solely to chocolate. I could write a whole post about chocolate haha, so I should leave that for another time. For now I’ll just say, it is great.
Ok back to risotto. Squash, fresh chanterelle mushrooms, and local smoked sausage along with white wine make for a great flavor profile. Instead of using a veggie or chicken broth as is typical of risotto, I instead used the water from boiling the squash. It was bright orange and quite flavorful. I decided to boil the squash because I wanted it to literally melt into the risotto. Risotto is one of those dishes were texture is extremely important. While flavor can vary widely in the dish – I myself had made several varieties – the texture must be perfect. It can NOT be underdone at all. Risotto al dente is not risotto. On the other hand, overdone risotto is gummy and chewy, and not in a good way. The trick to risotto is 1) patience and 2) careful babysitting/timing. Just make sure to add a little bit of liquid at a time, stir often, and be patient. Taste often until you get a sense for the timing that you will need to achieve the perfect texture. When you lift the spoon up to your mouth and taste a few grains of rice, and every flavor swirls seamlessly in your mouth leaving you wondering how you ever got on before eating such creamy smooth rice like this, then you are at the right place. It took me a couple of times before I really understood that point with risotto.
Once you grasp the technique of risotto, you can really do anything with it. Risotto can be the backdrop for so many flavors and varied it in countless ways. But this, this might just be my favorite yet.
500g (about 1 lb) of courge or squash, peeled and diced
5 c. water (will become the broth)
2 tbs. butter
1 cup arborio rice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
150 g (about 1/3 lb.) saucisson vaudois (or smoked sausage), casing removed and chopped
pinch dried rosemary
1 cup white wine
100 g (about 4 oz.) chanterelles, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1. Add water and squash to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Boil about 30 minutes, or until all of the squash is very soft. Take the squash out, mash and set aside, reserve the broth and keep it on a low simmer.
2. Melt butter in a large (10″ or bigger) saute pot, and add rice, garlic, shallots, sausage, and rosemary. Saute until rice is golden. Deglaze with a healthy splash of white wine, giving a good stir. Then, pour in the rest of the wine and turn the heat down to an active simmer. Add in mashed squash and chopped chanterelles, stirring often (every 30 s or so).
3. Using the “broth” from the squash, gradually add about 1/2 cup at a time to the rice, still stirring frequently, until the rice is tender and at that perfect texture. You want to add a little at a time as this is what will give it that creamy texture. Once risotto is done, remove from heat and serve immediately.
Also Submitted To – Friday Foodie Fix