Monday, 26 November 2012

Meatless Monday-The Decadent

Today's Meatless Monday is proof positive that.....

A. Eating a vegetarian diet doesn't have to be boring, mundane, or tasteless. And....

B. That eating vegetarian can feel decadent, rich, and creamy.

This recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto is so good that even the pickiest of eaters will love it. Risotto is one of those foods that is naturally rich in texture and flavour, so be careful. A little goes a long way as a main course. No substitutions allowed on the arborio rice. It carries a much higher starch content than other rices, and is what gives risotto its creaminess. I like to serve it with a green vegetable or a salad and dinner is done. While the recipe is not difficult, it is what my grandmother used to call "patschidik"or hands-on. You can't leave it alone and need to constantly stir it otherwise it either burns or turns gloppy. Dedicate the time and dinner will be great.

Butternut Squash Risotto
2 cups cubed butternut squash
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
5 cups hot vegetable stock
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and ground black pepper to taste

**If your butternut squash doesn't come already cubed, the easiest way to deal with that is to cut the squash in half, seed it carefully with a spoon, place it skin side down on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven and bake it for 40-45 minutes. The flesh will then remove easily from the skin.

1. Place squash cubes into a steamer basket in a saucepan. Add water, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Allow to steam until the squash is tender (10 to 15 minutes), then drain, and mash in a bowl with a fork. (Or use the oven method and then mash!)

2. Melt butter in a  large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir for 2 minutes until the onion begins to soften, then stir in the rice. Continue cooking and stirring until the rice is glossy from the butter, and the onion begins to brown on the edges, about 5 minutes more.

3. Pour in the white wine; cook, stirring constantly, until it has evaporated. Stir in the mashed squash and 1/3 of the hot stock; reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir until the stock has been absorbed by the rice, 5 to 7 minutes. Add half of the remaining stock, and continue stirring until it has been absorbed. Finally, pour in the remaining stock, and continue stirring until the risotto is creamy. Finish by stirring in the Parmesan cheese, and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.


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