Thursday, December 28, 2006

Butternut Squash Risotto, Smoky Brussels Sprouts

Tonight a couple whom I met when I lived in Connecticut was about an hour away visiting relatives, and they came to see us and have dinner together. It's been a while since I made risotto, and I've in particular been thinking of making it with butternut squash, apropos to the season.

I have never peeled butternut squash but suspect it wouldn't be easy; I was prepared to do so today but was surprised to see at Whole Foods Market (in Durham) for the first time I have noticed cubed raw butternut squash! I bought it and just had to cut the cubes a little smaller. I made butternut squash risotto, along with Brussels sprouts with shallots and seasoning with hot sauce and Colgin Liquid Smoke, simply sauteed tempeh with soy sauce, and a salad (including m√Ęche or "lamb's lettuce", artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, and fresh herbs and seasonings).

It's probably easier to follow the earlier description of making risotto, but I prepared about 4 1/2 cups of vegetable broth. I chopped into a medium dice most of a medium onion, and, in a heavy nonstick pot, sauteed the onion with the squash for 4-5 minutes or so till the squash started softening and the onion was becoming clear. Then I added a bit over a cup of arborio rice and stirred till the rice was mostly clear and not white, just a minute or two. I added a cup of Chardonnay wine (almost any white wine could have done), and stirred till the wine got absorbed, another minute or so. Then I spent the next half hour or so adding a ladle or so full of the hot broth and occasional pinches of salt, stirring the mixture. I made sure to never have the rice swimming in liquid, but always moist. Partway through I added some mushroom slices and small cubes of green bell pepper. I used up all the broth and in the end added some vegan Parm! "parmesan cheese" and freshly ground black pepper. It came out well!

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