Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash

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Risotto con Zucca Arrostita

Risotto is made with Arborio rice, a short grain Italian rice, that is known for its silky, creamy goodness. The slow cooking method used to prepare it brings out the starch with creates the creaminess.   I’m sure you will agree that it is well worth the extra effort. It can be served as a main dish or a side dish. This recipe is made with butternut squash, but you can use almost any vegetables you prefer, and sausage or pancetta are also delicious options.

Ingredients for butternut squash:

20 – oz. butternut squash cubed
Salt
Black pepper
Olive oil
1/2 – tsp. fresh thyme
1/4 – tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

Directions:

You can buy pre-cubed butternut squash or if you buy a whole one, peel it, remove the seeds, and make 1 inch cubes.  Place the cubes in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, salt, black pepper, thyme, and nutmeg.  Mix well.  Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, and spread the butternut squash over it. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until tender.  Set aside until the risotto is cooked.

Ingredients for the Risotto:

1 – cup Arborio rice
32 – oz. chicken stock (preferably organic)
1 – shallot
1 – clove garlic
1/2 – cup dry white wine
1/2 – cup parmigiano reggiano
Salt
Black pepper

Directions:

Melt butter in medium sized sauce pan. Dice the shallot and garlic then add to the pan. Sprinkle with a little salt and black pepper. Sauté on medium heat until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. In the meantime, heat the chicken broth in a separate sauce pan.

Add the rice to the onion and garlic and stir, making sure to coat all the rice with the butter. Cook about 1-2 minutes, then deglaze the pan with the wine. Stir and cook until reduced by half.

Start adding the warm chicken broth one ladle at a time. Stir constantly on a medium-low flame, cook the rice until almost all the liquid is absorbed then add another ladle of chicken broth.

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Continue this process until all or most of the broth is gone. It is important to add the broth a little at a time so that the rice will release its starch to create a creamy sauce. It may not take all 32 oz. of the broth. Taste the rice after about 15 minutes to test and continue to add broth as needed until the rice becomes smooth, creamy and al dente (it should be a little firm to the bite).

Once the rice is al dente, add a pat of butter and the parmigiano reggiano and mix well. Add the roasted butternut squash and fold in. Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!




Butternut Squash Soup

 

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This is the perfect soup for the fall season, and it is easy and fast to make. You can substitute the chicken stock with vegetable stock if you want to make it vegetarian.

The herbs and cayenne pepper are a good balance to the natural sweetness of the butternut squash.

Ingredients:

1 – large butternut squash
2 – tbls. butter
1/2 – cup diced shallot
2 – stalks celery
2 – cloves garlic
4 – cups chicken stock (organic preferred)
2 – bay leaves
3 – sprigs of fresh thyme
3/4 – tsp. salt
1/4 – tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 – tsp. black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
Sour cream for serving

Directions:

Peel and remove the seeds from the butternut squash, then cut it into 1-2 inch cubes. Heat 2 tbls. butter in a large stock pot, and meanwhile dice the shallot, cut the celery in small pieces, and peel and smash the garlic with the side of a large kitchen knife. Add them to the pot and sauté until the onion just starts to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Add the butternut squash, chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme and salt. Bring it up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and thyme. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or a regular blender until smooth and creamy. If you use a regular blender you will need to do it in two or three batches. Be very careful with the hot soup in the blender. Hold down the lid and always remove it facing away from you. The steam from the hot liquid can blow off the lid.

Return the blended soup into the pot and add black pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper (optional).  Serve immediately. A spoon of sour cream is a nice compliment to the soup, if you like.

 




Roasted Vegetables

roasted-eggplant-zucchini-butternutRoasted Eggplant, Zucchini, and Butternut Squash

Roasted vegetables are one of the easiest side dishes you can make.  What’s great about it is that with very little effort you have a delicious vegetable to serve along with your main dish.  This recipes includes eggplant, zucchini, and butternut squash, but you can use any vegetables you like.  For example, bell peppers, onion, carrots, beets, or turnips.  You can even add potatoes to really round out the dish.

Ingredients:

2 – small eggplants
2- small zucchini
1 – small butternut squash
1 – tsp. salt
1/4 – cup extra virgin olive oil
1 – tsp. Adobo seasoning
1/2 – tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 – tsp. garlic powder

Directions:

Wash the eggplant and zucchini and cut into approximately 1-1/2″ cubes.  Peel the butternut squash, cut in half and remove the seeds; cut into equal sized pieces as the other vegetables.  Place all the vegetables into a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and mix thoroughly to coat all the vegetables (use more oil if necessary).  Add the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and Adobo; mix thoroughly.

Cover a large baking pan with parchment paper and place the vegetables on top.  Spread out evenly and drizzle a little more olive oil over the top.

Bake at 400o for 50 min. to one hour until tender.