- Recipe(s): Squash, sage and amaretti risotto (page 132) & Grilled spatchcocked chicken with new potatoes, roast asparagus and herby yogurt (page 190)
- Prep: Moderate and Fairly Easy
- Taste: Nice and Very Nice
We actually made these recipes over two nights last week. We made the risotto last Friday and the Spatchcocked chicken with new potatoes, etc on Saturday. We made the chicken recipe on Saturday as it was actually a full meal (included potatoes and asparagus) and we were entertaining some of my old work mates from when I worked at Starbucks……8 years ago!
The risotto dish does take some time to prep as you have to roast off a squash and ristotto itself isn’t the fastest dish. We decided to roast the squash the night before so that we could eat at a decent time the next night! Doing it this way made the final prep of the dish very easy the next night. It smelled amazing while it was being roasted but unfortunately this did not translate into the finished product. While the fried sage on top was very good the risotto itself lacked some flavour. It definitely could have benefited from more cinnamon. Also, because the squash was roasted the night before, it was not as malleable the next night, so it didn’t break down as much as I would have liked. If I were to make this dish again, I would still roast the squash the night before but I would put it into the food processor to break it up before I put it into the risotto mixture. I did this to the onion and celery this time around and it turned out really nice.
This dish does not rank too high on the flavour to effort scale but could be made again. As the book states, it would be great in the winter with roasted chestnuts. It would be a cool addition to a different type of holiday dinner.
The chicken with new potatoes and asparagus was tastier than the risotto. Aside from spatchcocking the chicken (cutting its backbone out), the prep to this dish is very easy. I did the spatchcocking myself, which tells you how easy it actually is. The books tells you to grill the chicken, skin side down, in a griddle pan, which we don’t own, so I threw it on the bbq for a few minutes, which added a nice char to the skin. The first bite of chicken was glorious. It had baked in the oven just long enough that it was still super juicy but fully cooked through, meaning I didn’t have to worry about a dinner guest going home with an illness. Back to the first bite. You could taste everything that was used in the recipe. The herbs (marjoram, oregano, mint and tarragon), the lemon, the char I mentioned earlier and of course the nice, sweet chicken skin (read fat). Having the chicken first made the potatoes and asparagus taste quite pedestrian, however others thought they were done to perfection, which they were. The potatoes were indeed nice and soft and the asparagus was nice and tender. The only thing that wasn’t as great as it could have been was the yoghurt. It really could have used more spice/lemon/herbs. All was not lost though, as I added garlic and hot sauce to it a few nights later and used it as a topping for fajitas. Yummy.
Flavour to effort on this dish is high and I would definitely make it again.