Sunday, July 15, 2007

Baked chicken and pumpkin risotto

I love risotto, but have only previously tried to make it twice myself, both while I was living in London about five years ago. The first time, I made a spinach and pancetta risotto using a recipe from a magazine issued by UK Safeway (now defunct), and the results were pleasing. Buoyed by this result, I tried to make Jamie Oliver's butternut pumpkin risotto, with disastrous results. It took forever to cut up a whole butternut pumpkin as required by the recipe, with me fearing that I'd amputate my fingers the whole time, and the end result was such a gloggy, tasteless mess that it went straight into the bin. I have since been shy of making my own risotto.

However, I have recently seen numerous recipes for baked risotto, which eliminate the crucial but tedious task of assisting the rice to absorb liquid via the stove-top method. When I saw Emma's yummy looking baked chicken and pumpkin rissotto at The Laughing Gastronome (the recipe is here), I was enticed to try the culinary equivalent of bungy jumping and attempt to make risotto again - and I am glad that I did!

Doesn't this look fantastic! And it tasted just as good as it looks. The risotto is based on chicken stock, which gives it a nice flavour, and it worked even though I used rose wine instead of white wine as required by the recipe (hey, I didn't have any white!). I am also a fan of the juicy sweetness of japanese pumpkin, which makes me laugh considering that I wouldn't touch the stuff until I lived in a University college and had to eat it or starve.

This risotto is the perfect comfort food for a cold winter's night - I highly recommend giving it a go. And because it is baked, you just stick it in the oven and let it look after itself - no more tedious stirring and coaxing for the rice to absorb liquid on a stovetop. Brilliant!

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