Many people have asked me for this recipe, which I served last night. It's incredibly easy and very satisfying, yet does not involve the fiddly non-stop stirring which makes risotto such a difficult thing to cook for a lot of people. (My amendments in brackets.)
Here is Nigella's Butternut Orzotto:
2 lbs butternut squash (I buy mine ready-chopped which is incredibly lazy of me, I know)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp ground mace (I used freshly-grated nutmeg)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups pearl barley
1/2 cup white wine
5 cups hot vegetable broth
1 cup marscapone cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 tsp finely chopped sage, plus a few small leaves
salt & pepper
* Pre-heat oven to 425F
* Mix butternut squash with 2 Tbs olive oil and the mace (nutmeg), put on a jelly-roll pan and roast for 40-50 mins. If bits are scorched or caramelized, this is a good thing.
* Meanwhile gently cook onion in remaining olive oil for about 10 mins
* Turn up heat to medium, add barley, stir for 2 mins, then turn heat up to high and pour in wine and let it bubble down a bit
* Add hot vegetable broth, put a lid on the pan and cook gently on a low heat for 30 mins or until done but a bit nubbly (Nigella's word not mine)
* When squash is tender take it out of oven and put a rough half of it in the blender with half the marscapone & blend. Stir this into the barley and season to taste.
* Add the other half of the butternut squash, the rest of the marscapone and a little weak vegetable broth if it feels to thick
* Toast pine nuts quickly in a pan till they're golden (watch out, they'll burn)
* Stir pine nuts into the orzotto, scatter with sage and serve immediately
From the book: Nigella Christmas.
A note: My designer friend Day points out that this book is not particularly well-styled. The photography is dodgy, the choices of tableware a bit cheesy (inside covers notwithstanding -- beautiful iced snowflake cookies photographed on pale blue felt). Compared to, for example, the Ottolenghi cookbook, it looks as if it belongs on the bargain shelf. If kitsch was the desired effect, it just misses. I am continuing to try the recipes and will share my findings.