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Posts Tagged ‘risotto’

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My sister, Vicky, and I took an amazing trip out to the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen yesterday, and I will be posting about this trip separately very soon, once I can organize all of my thoughts properly. It was an incredible experience, there is so much to say and I can’t wait to share it with you. After the beautiful drive, we went back to my parent’s house for our usual Sunday dinner with the whole family, where I made a big pot of this delicious risotto. Nothing sounded better than a delicious Autumn dinner with squash after driving through beautiful New York looking at all the colorful leaves and seeing farm stands selling squash everywhere. Vicky and I ended up stopping at one and I picked up butternut and acorn squashes and two beautiful sugar pumpkins for baking, so look out for lots of squash and pumpkin recipes in the next week or so. YUM!

I have never made a squash risotto myself, but I have eaten it at restaurants before and I have been so excited for squash season to come so I could try it out. It was incredible. So many delicious Fall flavors, and it was so filling and satisfying. The squash is so sweet and perfect with the spinach and salty tang from the cheeses, the colors in this dish were as pretty as the countryside we had driven through all day. Oh and I really love one pot meals so much, such easy prep and clean-up. My dad was very concerned this wouldn’t be enough food for 7 adults, but not only was it enough, but seconds were had by most of us and there were even leftovers.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
serves 8 as main-course

3-4 lb butternut squash (or two smaller squashes)
6-8 cups organic, free-range chicken broth (use vegetable broth to make vegetarian)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted organic butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups Arborio rice
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup finely grated blend of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
4 oz arugula or baby spinach (6 cups), stems discarded and leaves very coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Halve squash lengthwise and seed, then cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch-wide slices and season with salt. Roast slices, skin side down, in a shallow baking pan in middle of oven until tender and golden, about 50 minutes.
Set aside 6 crescent-shaped squash slices for serving and keep warm. Cut flesh from remaining slices into 1/2-inch pieces, discarding skin.

When the squash has about 10 minutes left, you can begin the risotto. 
Bring broth to a simmer and keep covered and barely at a simmer.

Meanwhile, cook onion in butter and olive oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add rice, garlic, and cook, stirring, 3 minutes.

Stir in 1/2 cup simmering broth and cook at a strong simmer, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is creamy-looking but still al dente (it should be the consistency of thick soup), about 25-30 minutes. (There may be leftover broth)

Stir in squash pieces, then stir in cheese, salt, sage, and arugula (or spinach) and simmer, stirring, 1 minute. Serve risotto immediately, spooned over reserved squash slices, top with fresh cheese and freshly ground pepper.

 

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I have been making some variation of this risotto for years, changing the ingredients around by the season and to what I have on hand, sometimes adding shrimp, scallops or crab meat, sometimes with chicken stock, others with vegetable broth. White wine, peas, mushrooms, squash, there are so many possibilities. Looking at the list of ingredients and directions may seem daunting, but it really is fairly simple. You just need the time to dedicate and a good parking spot in front of your stove. The perfect recipe for a Sunday night.

This particular version of my risotto showcases some of the lovely ingredients in season right now, asparagus, fennel and chives. I thought about adding peas, but I didn’t want to over do it. I recently saw a recipe, on an episode of Barefoot Contessa, where Ina Garten added mascarpone cheese at the end of her risotto to add creaminess. This was the first time I tried it and wow, what a delicious finishing move it is. This will remain a part of my recipe moving forward.

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Springtime Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto
Serves 6

1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
1 cup fennel, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
6 to 7 cups simmering mushroom broth (I like Pacific Foods Organic Mushroom Broth)
1/2 pound of asparagus
1 cup of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
.5 oz package of dried porcini mushrooms (equals 2 ounces fresh)
1/2 tablespoon of freshly grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus extra for serving
1 small bunch of fresh chives, chopped

Place the dried mushrooms into a bowl and cover with warm water. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes or until all the mushrooms are soft and pliable.

Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add fennel, onion, garlic and a pinch of salt, saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for about 3 to 5 minutes to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter or until the rice is transparent around the edges. Careful not to brown the rice or the vegetables. Add the mushroom broth, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more liquid, just enough to cover the rice and continue stirring or moving as before. This process should take 30-35 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water.

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with both the baby bella and the dried mushrooms, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons pepper and the fresh thyme. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture and the Parmigiano Reggiano. Taste and season, to taste, with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmigiano Reggiano.

And here is the best part – LEFTOVERS!

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