Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto

Here in Cleveland, we are still making our way slowly through our bushel of squash, purchased at the very end of October. We were making excellent progress, but after awhile, you just get sick of squash. All the time squash. So we took a squash break. Last week we brought the bags back out from the dark space beneath the cupboard. One thing we found out: acorn squash does not hold up as well as butternut. In the bag farthest back was a shriveled black mound that once was an acorn squash. I threw it and its three other bag companions in the trash. Four squash down by default. The rest, though, are holding their own, including a few acorns. But mostly, it's butternut.

And due to the find of the beyond-saving acorn husk, I got to thinking: perhaps it's time to use up all this squash.

Butternut Squash Risotto
-adapted from Simply Recipes-

What you need:
7 c. veggie broth
5 T butter
1 small onion
2 c. butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 c. long grain brown rice
1 c. diluted apple cider vinegar (1/2-3/4 vinegar and the rest water)
1/3 c. grated Parm
a sprinkle of Italian spices (parsley, rosemary, oregano, basil)

1. For broth, I always turn to my trusty jar of Better Than Bouillon. I particularly enjoy how its ingredients include nothing but a list of vegetables and how its taste reflects that list. I put 7 c. of water in a small saucepan and heated it to boil. Then, I added the necessary amount Better Than Bouillon paste. Voila: Veggie Broth.

2. Keep the broth on low so it stays heated. Melt 4 T of the butter in a large pan. Add onion and squash. Cook over med heat about 5 min.

3. Add rice to the veggies. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add the vinegar. Cook, stirring until it is absorbed in the rice. Add enough broth to just cover the rice. Cook at med heat until broth is absorbed. Add more broth and repeat the process for the next 20 minutes. At this point in the recipe I had, the risotto was supposed to be done. Of course, that recipe called for arborio rice and I had only brown. So it still looked like this:

Thus, at this point, I dumped the remaining broth in the pan and put the lid on it. Brown rice, unlike arborio, takes more like 40 minutes to cook. Sure enough, in another 20, the rice was ready to go.

4. During the last minutes of cooking, remove the lid. When the broth is all absorbed, add remaining T of butter and the grated Parm. Sprinkle Italian spices on the top. The rice should be a creamy consistency. Add salt to taste and serve more grated Parm.

I had never made risotto before and frankly, it was a pain in the butt. However, the taste of the completed dish is worth the effort. Because all that broth is slowly absorbed into the rice, it is extremely flavorful, almost decadent. And it looks quite pretty on a plate.

Pictured here with a dolphin-safe tuna melt on wheat.

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