Thursday, October 9, 2008

Change of Seasons

I was out walking the dogs tonight when I noticed that the leaves are falling from the trees, rustling in shades of orange and brown along the sides of the paths and in the parking lot. The first rain of fall was sprinkling down from the sky and falling cool on my face and hands. The smell of rain permeated the air, wet asphalt and ozone. I wonder if dogs pay attention to the change of seasons?

A new season means a change in foods. There will be less grilling and more roasting. There will be fewer light salads and pastas, and more homey and comforting soups and casseroles. And in this change of seasons, I've joined up with the Barefoot Bloggers, where my first dish is Butternut Squash Risotto.

Butternut Squash Risotto

I made only a few changes to the original recipe: I omitted the pancetta; I used Imagine Organic No-Chicken Broth, and I used saffron powder rather than threads. I also halved the recipe since there's only the two of us to eat it. We still have leftovers, so I'll find out how the risotto reheats. *** Turns out, it reheats quite well! ***

The ingredients

I watched the episode where Ina Garten makes this dish and noticed that she used what appeared to be an ice cream scoop for the seeds in the butternut squash. I gave that a try, and now I think she might have been using a melon baller instead.

Squash ready to be roasted

I love the rich orange color of butternut squash, before and after roasting. (Check out my new blue wavy dish holding the oranges below. Love it!)

Orange and oranges

I love the smell of shallots or onions cooking in butter.

Buttery goodness

After the shallots are translucent (I might have browned them a little) you add the rice and coat the grains with melted butter.

Toasty

The process of making risotto takes time, and is a good reminder to slow down at times and enjoy the process. You slowly add ladles of stock to the toasted Arborio rice as the rice absorbs the liquid, stirring every few minutes. I'm reminded to be conscious of what is happening in the moment, something easily forgotten.

Relaxation in a pot

After about half an hour the risotto is done. You add in the roasted squash and Parmesan and enjoy. This dish turned out very creamy. The saffron lends a lovely yellow color and slight spiciness to the risotto. The roasted butternut squash was tender and sweet. I think I undercooked the risotto a bit, and the smokiness of the pancetta would be very good. Next time I might try some tofu bacon to add a bit more complexity to the risotto. This will definitely be a repeat meal in my house. As you see, I grilled some skirt steak for Chris to have with his, but this dish can certainly stand on its own as a meal.

Yum!

6 comments:

chocolatechic said...

This was an absolutely fabulous dish.

I am so glad I made it.

Lisa said...

Yours turned out really nice! I can't wait to get to mine.

webbie said...

It looks great! And I'm glad you said something about left-overs. Looks like I'll be having some for lunch tomorrow.

Audrey said...

Misty, thanks for visiting! We picked a great week to join this group, didn't we? I love "Relaxation in a Pot" - that's how making risotto makes me feel.
Audrey

Candy said...

Loved this risotto! Yours looks really good!

Matt said...

I love your description of walking your dogs in the autumn rain... I love the change of seasons and the accompanying change in the foods we make.

The pancetta definitely added richness. Next time I think I'll cut back on the butter. Your garnish of green was a nice touch. Kind of like the last leaves to turn on an autumn tree...

Slow stirring and being in the moment is also perfect for the season. When it's rainy outside what can be better than relaxing in the kitchen?