When is a risotto not a rice pudding? I found myself pondering this imponderable after trying a recipe form one of the new cookbooks. I had all the ingredients apart from a random splash of white wine which was offered up to deglaze the pan but I planned to use a glug of ginger ale instead. Since there was plenty of minced ginger in the recipe itself, I didn’t think it was too mad a thing to do. I like a bowl of steamy, creamy risotto and a favourite, now of the past, is made with butter softened, bright green leeks and a generous handful of Grana Padano cheese shavings stirred in just before dishing up. I also like a mushroom and tarragon combination, cooking them separately and only adding when the rice is nearly ready so the risotto doesn’t turn the colour of wet pavements.
This new recipe was a shift towards something spicier with ginger, garlic and chilli flakes at the beginning of cooking, cranberries, nutmeg, cinnamon and some pre-roasted squash towards the end, and finally lime juice and coconut milk. On eating, the first flavour hit was piquant and savoury, this then became the back-story as something sweet and vaguely reminiscent of hot cross buns took over, until in the final chews there was the tangy lime. It was tasty, but if I am honest a bit odd and I was left wondering if I just ate pudding instead of dinner. I will give it another go, but tinker with those cinnamon and nutmeg measures I must.
Recipe: Acorn Squash Risotto with Cranberries, from Isa Does It