This week is the one year anniversary of my little blog. And, serendipitously, this is also my 100th post! I love when things work out like that.
We are definitely feeling the change of seasons here in Boston. Not only has the weather turned cooler (downright brisk in the mornings), but people are retreating into their post-summer shells, the college students are back and (most telling of all) Ben Affleck’s new movie is out, to remind us (yet again) of what a cold, hard, tough place this city is.
Luckily there are comforting dishes such as this one, to ward off any off those tough-city, summer’s gone, and the-T-is-stuffed-full-of-freshman blues. As a matter of fact, this squash risotto was so delicious that I was too busy eating it to remember to photograph it for you all. Please forgive me.
Butternut Squash Risotto, from What to Have for Dinner, Martha Stewart Living 1995
As I mentioned earlier this week, I dusted off an old Marth Stewart cookbook from my mom’s kitchen shelf to discover that it is a real treasure. All the recipes are divided by season and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. In recent years there has been some talk of risotto recipe innovations that make standing over the pot and stirring for 30-45 minutes a thing of the past. I don’t buy it. You need to work for certain things, and risotto is worth every effort. Take your time, put on some music pull a stool or chair up to the stove and enjoy this process as the smells of squash, wine and rosemary fill your kitchen.
1 medium butternut squash
5-6 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbs unsalted butter or margarine
1 Tbs olive oil
4 shallots, peeled and minced
2 cups Abrorio rice (I used short grain brown rice, but it took almost 2 hours and more liquid for it to become tender)
1/2 cup dry white wine
freshly grated nutmeg (just a tiny pinch)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary, plus sprigs for garnish
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan (you could certainly do without this, or if you prefer, use a hard sheep’s milk cheese)
Cut squash into eighths and discard seeds. Steam for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Scoop the flesh from the skin and mash lightly.
In a large saucepan, heat the stock to a simmer, keep very warm (I usually just put my my stock on low while I cook risotto, so it stays nice and hot).
In a large saucepan or dutch oven (low, wide, heavy pot) over medium heat, melt 1 Tbs butter/margarine. Add oil and shallots; cook, stirring for 5 minutes.
Add wine to rice and cook, stirring, until wine is nearly absorbed. Stir in a cup of stock and the squash; simmer until liquid is nearly absorbed. Continue stirring in stock, a ladleful at a time, until rice is creamy and firm but not hard in the center, 15-20 minutes. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper, to taste. Add chopped rosemary. Stir in the remaining butter and most of the Parmesan (if using). Serve in shallow bowls garnished with the remaining cheese and rosemary sprigs.