A couple of months ago I was sent the brand new MultiCooka from the a range to review. I was super curious about this new fandangled kitchen appliance the moment the email dropped into my inbox. See, it looks like a slow-cooker (and I’m a huge slow cooker fan) but it’s so, so much more than that.
Of course, the giveaway is in the name, being a MultiCooka, this machine has multiple cooking functions depending on the type of food you want to cook. That is, instead of having to use loads of different pans on the hob to cook your meal you can save time, space and hassle and just use the one machine.
I quite like to give products a real test before I recommend them and as there are many functions to the MultiCooka I wanted to try various meals before sharing it with you.
We have used the Multicooka to make porridge, lamb keema, chicken hotpot, pulled chicken and a few other bits and bobs.
For the most part we’ve found it super useful. Our only gripe is that the stirring function (yes, there is a paddle attachment that allows it to stir itself!) can something push the food to the edges a bit too much and this can cause uneven cooking. So you just need to keep an eye on that.
Also, if you using the fry/saute function and have the lid off, move it away from your freshly painted walls… yep.
Otherwise, we’re pretty pleased with this product.
Today I want to share with you a delicious recipe for making a seasonal favourite of mine, Butternut Squash Risotto.
I make my risotto ‘vegan-style’, as I don’t eat cheese. However for this I like to sprinkle crispy bacon on top as the salty, meaty, crunchiness contrasts perfectly with butternut squash and risotto textures.
You can, should you wish, grate some cheese on top when serving. Proper Parmesan cheese works well for this!
If you are vegan then obviously just omit the bacon topping and the butter. The toasted pine nuts are a lovely topping addition.
This is a fantastic dinner option if you are feeding vegans, vegetarians and meat-lovers all in one sitting. They just add their own chosen toppings to taste.
Butternut Squash Risotto (serves 4)
For the roasted butternut squash
1 medium-sized butternut squash (approx. 800g – up to 1kg max), cubed roughly
1 tbsp honey (or golden syrup)
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, one roughly torn, one split into three sprigs
Large pinch of coarse sea salt
Few generous grinds of freshly ground black pepper
2tbsp olive oil
For the risotto
1tbsp butter (optional – substitute for oil for vegan option)
1tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
500g Arborio rice
300ml white wine
1.5 – 2 litres hot vegetable stock
2-3 tbsp pine nuts
Few grates of fresh Parmesan cheese
10-12 rashers streaky smoked bacon
Preheat the oven to 200C (fan-assisted).
Spread the pumpkin cubes over a large baking tray drizzle with honey (or golden syrup), fresh rosemary, salt and pepper and then the olive oil. Gently toss together and ensure the squash is spread evenly over the tray before popping into the oven to roast for 35 minutes.
Halfway through cooking carefully loosen and turn the squash using a fish slice and tongs.
When the butternut squash is done the edges should be browning and starting to caramelise. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Fry the streaky bacon in a frying pan, turning a few times until crispy. Remove and set aside on a plate covered with kitchen paper towel. Once cooled, just crumbled the bacon into pieces ready to add to the risotto.
In a small pan, dry fry the pine nuts. Shake the pan a few times and remove as soon as they start to brown. Set aside.
In the multicooka (or a deep-sided pan) heat the butter and olive oil together (on the sauté function) before adding the onion. Fry, stirring often, until the onion softens and begins to turn a lovely golden colour.
Add the crushed garlic and fry for a further minute.
Toss in the Arborio rice and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring to combine with the onion and garlic.
Pour in the wine and turn up the heat to high (shallow fry function) for 3-4 minutes until the wine reduces.
Now reduce the heat to medium-low (risotto function) and add half the hot vegetable stock (if not using a multicooka add the hot stock a ladle amount at a time and keep stirring until the liquid absorbs). Keep adding more stock when necessary.
When you are about two-thirds of the way through the liquid add two-thirds of the butternut squash to the risotto.
When the first 1.5litres of stock has been added to the rice test the texture to ensure the rice is cooked through – it should be soft with a very slight bite to it. If it’s not cooked, add more stock or hot water, a little at a time. Still carefully stirring.
Once the rice is cooked serve immediately with the final third of the butternut squash gentle folded in.
Add your chosen garnishes – crispy bacon, toasted pine nuts, cheese or a sprig of rosemary on the side.
Serve your butternut squash risotto with a large glass of white wine!
Let me know if you try this recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto!