GRANDE RISO w. OLIVE OIL BRAISED COURGETTE & ROASTED SQUASH
Grande Riso has absolutely ousted Risotto rice in our household due to its versatility (yes it can be cooked in a very similar fashion to the said grain) and how addictively tasty it is with the malty, nutty notes that come through from the wholemeal, alongside double milled organic Gilchesters semolina that is used to make it.
In this recipe, there's very little standing at the stove, slavishly stirring the pot. Cooked in a large pan of water whilst the squash caramelize in the oven and the courgettes slowly cook in Extra Virgin Olive oil, melting down to become the most incredible, luxurious sauce that will literally have you asking yourself, 'where can I get my hands on more courgettes, NOW,?', as you scrape the bowl clean.
Finally, the key to bringing out the best in this dish is using a really good EVOO made from pure, cold pressed olives, not a blended olive oil. This way, you'll unlock the courgettes sweetness and achieve a depth of flavour that's just not going to be the same with a blended oil.
INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED
4-5 small courgettes, roughly diced
125 ml EVOO
1 large clove Garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes (optional)
200g Grande Orzo
1 small Onion Squash
Salt & Pepper
Parsley, small bunch, leaves chopped
15g Pistachios (or walnuts/ pine nuts), chopped
HOW TO MAKE IT
In a lidded pan, add EVOO, courgettes, garlic and season with 1/2 tsp salt. Stir to coat, then cook for 5-10 minutes over a medium heat until the courgettes begin to take on some colour
Lid then pan, turn down the heat a little and cook for another 10-15 minutes, stir only very occasionally to help the courgettes break down, cook evenly and allow the flavours to meddle
Whilst the courgettes are doing their own thing, toss the squash in a little more EVOO, season and then place flesh side down on a baking tray. Roast undisturbed at 220c for ten minutes then flip and cook for another ten minutes before removing from the oven, transferring to a bowl to nestle into the finished dish later. The aim here is to get darkly caramelized flesh that will add insane pops of flavour to the finished dish as you devour it
Cook the Grande Riso in a large pot of salted water, it's pretty low maintenance in the fact that you can give it a stir once it's in the water then just an occasional one as it cooks away for around 10 minutes. Check at this stage, the pasta should almost be done with a bit of bite
Let the Grande Riso go for a couple more minutes if you feel it needs it, if not transfer to the courgettes and allow it to finish cooking in the EVOO and melted courgette sauce, stirring gently. Pasta water that will make its way in as you transfer from the pot to the pan will emulsify the sauce, creating a silky smooth consistency... Risotto like but without the aching arm!
Season to taste, add parmesan (as little or as much as you like) before spooning into bowls, studding with the roasted squash and then scattering with pistachios and fresh herbs.
This is a great dish that doesn't need to be impeccably timed with a final crescendo of everything having to be ready at the same time to be served piping hot. In fact, I find that a little time resting in the pan once cooked only benefits the final pleasure of eating those gloriously melted and muddled courgettes.