Friday, November 7, 2008

Back to Squash

So, before all this election hooplah happened, I was really into butternut squash. Now that the election is over, I am returning, as promised, to the squash.

A little while ago, I needed a relaxing day. So, I decided to make butternut squash risotto with my friend Jaclyn. You've seen her before on this blog. You can read about it here. I realize that most people would not consider making risotto from scratch relaxing - I'm just a freak.

Butternut Squash Risotto, adapted from Ina Garten

1 smallish butternut squash
olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
a few strips of bacon, diced
2 large minced shallots
1 box Arborio rice (I think that's usually 17 oz)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (at least)
fresh sage, a few leaves

1. Peel your butternut squash. I'm warning you now - it's kind of hard. I used a serrated vegetable peeler.

Then chop it into smallish pieces.

Trader Joe's sells peeled, cut butternut squash in packages. It's good, but not as good as my farm fresh squash. It's a lot easier though.

2. Preheat you oven to 400 degrees. Put your cut squash on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, pepper and some olive oil. Toss them around to coat them. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender. While that happens, you can start the other part of your recipe.

3. Dice your shallots and bacon. Oh bacon. You are so delicious. I did not eat you for so long. What was I thinking? Crazy Jewish vegetarian parents, steering me in the wrong direction.

In a large pan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Saute your shallots and bacon until the shallots are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. It's gonna smell really good.

4. Add the rice and stir so that it gets all coated in buttery goodness.

5. Oh yeah! You should have your chicken stock heated at this point - just simmer it over low heat while you cook. I forgot to tell you.

Add the wine to your rice. I don't measure. I just pour it in. Yum. Stir and cook it for a few more minutes.

6. It's a good thing you heated your chicken stock. We're going to start adding it to the rice, one ladle full at a time. Just pour a little bit in and stir until it's evaporated into the rice. By cooking it slowly this way, the rice is releasing starches that makes it amazing. Add a pinch of salt with the stock.

Once each ladle full (or large spoonful, whatever) is absorbed, add another ladle full of stock. See how the rice expands as you go on?

Keep adding until the stock is gone. The rice should be cooked, but have a bite to it. It'll take a while, maybe 20-30 minutes.

7. Check your squash! It looks yummy. I love the bright orange color.

Take the risotto off the heat and add the squash. I had some leftover squash that I got to keep and eat. It was so good. Add the cheese too and rip up some sage leaves and throw those in as well.

Mix it really well! See my awesome stirring action?

8. Serve it with a nice salad so that you can pretend that you're healthy.

Yay! It was really good. Since taking these pictures, I actually made it again and it was just as good. My friend Jaclyn really liked it too. Thanks for your help!


Meredith said...

To be fair, there are a lot more unhealthy things than squash risotto. If you cut off the bulbous bottom and peel them separately, it's a lot easier.

Looks amazing though! Yay fall!

David Borgen said...

nice and colorful...
why ruin it with chicken stock?
how about a nice box of organic veggie broth?

Mrs. Z. said...

Wow! Great recipe!

Mikochan said...

This looks really good. I love risotto and squash.

jaclyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jaclyn said...

Yay, I'm on your blog! And reading this post is making me really hungry for risotto--it was so delicious!

Kevin said...