Monday, June 14, 2010

Butternut Squash Risotto

I know what you are thinking. Ok that's not entirely true. But you might be thinking "Butternut Squash? In June? From someone who advocates eating seasonally?"

You'll have to forgive my slight transgression when you hear why. It's been a struggle for me to wrap my head around the fact that I will be gone in a few days. My small studio apartment is my sanctuary and my kitchen is usually stocked with all manner of ingredients. Lately, I've had to keep reminding myself not to keep buying food. I can't buy a can of this or a jar of that knowing that I'll discover it in my pantry a few months later and use it to create something really special. I can't keep stocking up on cans of beans just because they are on sale.

Emptying out my freezer has been an amusing process. In it you'll find an odd assortment of leftover bits and pieces. Everything from tofu to a ham hock. They should make an episode of "Chopped" with what's in there. So anyways, one of my finds was a container of leftover ravioli filling that I made months ago.

So out of the freezer it came, as I racked my brain and my cupboards looking for a suitable partner. None of my regular starches seemed like a good match especially on a warm night, until I spied a forgotten box of risotto. And the stars aligned in the form of an open bottle of white wine. Open bottles of wine don't last very long around my house so it was a sign.


About a cup and a half of cooked butternut squash (assuming you are feeding 2 people with leftovers)
Handful blue cheese, to taste
Handful dried cranberries, to taste
Arborio rice (see package for measurements and servings sizes)
Healthy splash of white wine
1 small or medium onion, diced
A few cloves of minced garlic
Butter and olive oil
Optional vegetable stock
Optional fresh lemon

In a large sauce pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and season liberally with salt and pepper. Satuee until the onion starts to get some color, but don't let it get too brown.

At this point you can prepare a sauce pan with some stock and heat over medium low heat. A full disclaimer that I used water and it turned out just fine. I used pretty strongly flavored ingredients in this one, but when I'm making something plainer I do use stock. Regardless, heat some liquid in a saucepan next to your risotto. It should simmer but not boil.

Add the garlic and uncooked rice and stir so that the rice starts to absorb some of the butter and oil. Stir constantly while it toasts slightly. After a few minutes and when you see the rice starting to get a little toasty, add the white wine. You want a good amount (I added about 2 cups) because this will add a lot of flavor. You could add some lemon juice right now also.

Stir the risotto until it absorbs all of the liquid. The usual risotto technique is to watch constantly, add a little warm liquid at a time, and wait until it absorbs all of it before adding some more. I turn the heat down to low, add about a cup of liquid at a time, stir well, put the lid on, and watch some tv. During the commercial break I'll check it again. I've never had any complaints about my risotto. There are so many commercials nowadays that you end up checking it pretty often this way.

When it had a good deal of liquid added to it but wasn't quite done, I dumped in my sqaush, blue cheese and cranberry mix and stirred well to incorporate. You might want to reseason at this point with salt and pepper.

Watch the magic happen... and enjoy.

PS: When I went back and read the ravioli recipe I had made a note about saving the filling to make risotto. The idea must have been tucked away in the back of my mind for a while. I wonder what else is lurking back there?

1 comment:

  1. This looks amazing!!! To accept your blogging award, you simply put the picture on your blog; thank the person who gave it to you (no need to gush!); tell 7 things about yourself; then list 15 other blogs that you think deserve the award. Some people are more inclined to follow the protocol than others ... I'm trying to do a post/day for June, so I did it up so I'd have a topic I didn't have to think of myself!