Risotto is comfort food at its best. It’s warm, cheesy and gooey so it goes down easy with very little chewing.
I had the enormous privilege to eat the best risotto EVER at the Au Pied de Cochon sugar shack a few weeks ago. This place is only open twice a year for a couple months. I can’t even begin to describe the decadence, deliciousness and excessiveness of what was served up. Luckily, Anthony Bourdain did an awesome job doing just that in his show “Parts Unknown” (skip to 3:17).
Making risotto can seem intimidating at first. I suggest doing all your mincing, chopping and measuring in advance so when the cooking process is underway, you won’t need 6 other arms.
The recipe below is my best shot at recreating chef Martin Picard’s risotto and it turned out pretty darn good. I hope I make him proud!
Ingredients (serves 6 REALLY hungry people):
- 2 pounds of butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cups of Arborio rice
- 1 cup of cider or dry white wine
- 2 boxes (946 mL x 2) of chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup of water
- 2/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup of spicy saucisson, diced
- 2 small or 1 large Macintosh apple, cored and diced (I keep the peel on)
- 1 tsp of dried sage
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preparation: In a large sauce pan over medium heat, cook the onion and the squash in olive oil until softened (8-10 minutes). Meanwhile, bring broth and water to a boil in a medium sauce pan, then reduce the heat and let simmer. Add the Arborio rice to the cooked squash and onion; stir to coat. Add the cider and stir continuously until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the remaining broth and water mixture 1 cup at a time, stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more. This should take about 30-40 minutes… Or until your arm falls off. Turn off the heat and mix in the apple(s), saucisson, Parmesan cheese and dried sage. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh sage and freshly grated Parmesan. I personnally garnished the risotto with brussel sprouts baked in bacon fat (which I highly recommend).
Music: Here’s a slow comforting song entitled “Show me the quiet air” from Montreal’s own The Franklin Electric. Enjoy!