You know that terrible, life altering moment when your favourite restaurant removes your favourite meal from the menu – whose with me? Well that happened to me and despite my begging to Zizzi for the recipe, they don’t want to give me the magical inner workings of their Zucca (Pumpkin) and Pancetta Risotto. I took it into my own hands to recreate it at home. Pumpkin is hard to find unless you live perpetually in Halloween land so replacing it with Butternut Squash is a great alternative (Zizzi have also done this too season depending, I know as I’ve asked on multiple occasions #obsessed). Roasting the Squash with thyme and chilli flakes help give the risotto an ever so slight warm glow that stay with you after each mouthful.
After making this twice, the first time perfectly (see photographic evidence below!) and the second time with more of a throw it in and see approach, I’ve concluded that risotto works best with the exact ingredients and measurements. Don’t wing it on this one and don’t overcook the rice otherwise it goes like mush. I used this recipe from Woman & Home Online and altered it a little by peeling the skin off the squash before roasting, adding in pancetta cubes after the onion and garlic for smokey bacon-ey goodness and spinach at the last minute for colour and an earthy contrast to the sweetness of the Butternut Squash. Topped with a cold dollop of mascarpone, it was just like Zizzi used to make.
I’m also convinced that the Risotto spoon I used, helped to make it creamier and generally more fabulous. It is definitely a lazy Sunday recipe when you have time to spend making it right and with patience. This is the perfect Autumn recipe for those just emerging colder nights that require comfort food and good company.
UPDATE: Zizzi have thankfully put the risotto back on their Autumn Specials Menu, but after trying it again I think I prefer mine…