Making the risotto was easy - I don't know why I had it in my head before embarking on this project that there was anything tiresome about making it. Stirring is quite therapeutic; it gives you time to think, while you watch the grains of rice plump up and soften. While I made the standard base risotto recipe, I pounded cinnamon and dried chilli with salt and rubbed two quarters of a butternut squash (unpeeled) with olive oil, before smearing over the cinnamon and chilli mix, and roasting for 45 minutes at 200C.
Once the base risotto was made, I tried Jamie's cunning trick of spreading it over an oiled baking tray and putting it in the porch to cool down (that was nearly a disaster as I put it on the floor, assuming noone would go out there, but Simon did go out there when a pushy Talk Talk salesman rang the bell; luckily he didn't step in my risotto). Meanwhile I had some me-time - not that long, but enough time to make a difference. When I was hungry, I returned the risotto to a pan with half the remaining stock required and the squash flesh, brought it to the boil, and simmered, adding more stock gradually in the usual risotto-making way. When the rice was cooked, I turned off the heat, beat in mascarpone, butter and Parmesan, seasoned slightly, and put the lid on the pan for a minute or two while I fried sage leaves in olive oil until crispy.
The risotto was served topped with the sage leaves; I put Parmesan and crushed amaretti biscuits on the table for each of us to add as we wished.
The photo, above, doesn't do it justice; this was delicious. The amaretti biscuits added a lovely sweetish contrast; too many of those would have ruined the dish, though. Jamie suggests adding roasted chestnuts or pancetta near Christmas, which seems to me like a good excuse to make this again. Simon had read the recipe and asked if we were having the version with a twist; I said no, and clocked his disappointment. He didn't seem disappointed when he ate it though! I have to say that risotto, the meal I never remembered to make, is definitely going to become a weeknight regular in this house. I will have to take tips from Ilana's 'I love risotto' blog... There are 6 remaining risotto recipes in Cook with Jamie - I look forward to more risotto!