Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Butternut Risotto

I think sometimes I get more email from the various cooking website or food blogs that I follow than I do from my actual friends and family. And that's a little unsettling to think about. But sometimes it works out well, like in the case of this delicious risotto that I tried out last night. I had spent the last week or so in constant movement, going places, was on the road to see friends this weekend, and was barely at home all week. Last night, I decided I needed a whole night of nothing but me and some recipes, cooking and baking while I watched the nightly news in the kitchen. So last night, I ended up with a huge batch of oatmeal pancakes with a raspberry compote, a tray of pumpkin bars with brown sugar and spice icing, and a giant vat of butternut risotto. Part of the reason I wanted to cook so much food is that this week will be another busy one, and I wanted to take care of preparing some of my meals in advance. But really, that's just a fringe benefit - cooking and baking is my therapy, and I needed a long session of it last night. Nothing relaxes me quite like the rhythmic motion of chopping vegetables, whipping together some cake batter, or stirring a simmering pot of something delicious. Even though I didn't eat this for dinner last night (since it didn't get done until about 10 p.m.), I did taste it, and I can definitely recommend giving this recipe a try! Even if you're not a huge fan of butternut squash, the flavor of it was not too potent, and it added a nice creamy texture that was wonderful. You can find the recipe here on the Cooking Light website; all I did was change the Parmesan cheese to Vegan Parmesan Topping and added more spices than what the recipe called for, as follows: 4 cups low-salt chicken broth (I used Organic Pacific Chicken Broth) 1 1/3 cups water 1 small leek, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise and then sliced thinly 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup thinly sliced celery 1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio or other short-grain rice 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh sage 1/3 cup dry white wine 2 - 4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut or other winter squash (about 2 pounds) 1 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup Vegan Parmesan Topping 2 -3 teaspoons lemon juice 3/4 - 1 teaspoon white pepper Combine chicken broth and water in a large bowl and set aside. Cut leek crosswise into thin slices. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leek and celery, and sauté 2 minutes. Add rice and sage, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in wine, and cook 1 minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/2 cup broth mixture, squash, and salt, and cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, and cook until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes). Stir in Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and pepper. Season to taste and serve.

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