Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fall in a Bowl, Pt. 2

Butternut Squash Risotto and Mixed Green Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette
Salad, risotto, and wine: a well-balanced birthday din-din.

For his birthday, I granted my dad a coupon for a special home-cooked meal as soon as I got the chance, and tonight happened to be it. I swooped down on Whole Foods to gather my ingredients, then set to work putting his surprise dinner together. This process was observed from a comfortable distance - the menu wasn't revealed until the moment it hit the plates.

This was my first time taking the care and indulgence necessary to carry off risotto and, uh, it was way worth it. It absolutely melts in your mouth. Devote an evening to making this and I solemnly swear you will not be disappointed.

Butternut Squash Risotto
adapted from the Barefoot Contessa, serves 6

1 medium butternut squash
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons margarine
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
4 cups no-chicken stock
2 cups water

Preheat the oven to 400. Halve the squash, de-seed it, and place cut-side down on a cookie sheet greased with two tablespoons of olive oil. Place the squash in the oven for 45 minutes.

Pour the stock and water into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. In the meantime, saute the shallots in the remaining three tablespoons of olive oil and three of margarine until translucent. Stir in the rice, coating thoroughly with butter and oil. Add the wine, simmering for about two minutes. Add two ladlefuls of the warmed broth, plus the salt, white pepper and turmeric. Allow the broth to be absorbed, stirring every coupla minutes. Once it starts to seem a little dry, add another two ladles of stock. Continue this routine for about 30 minutes, until all the broth is used.

Once the squash is cooked through, peel off the skin and cube with a knife. Stir into risotto.

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