Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ooh, gourmet!

That's exactly what Chris said as I set a plate of this risotto and some baked chicken in front of him for dinner tonight. And it was quite good, too. Risotto can seem intimidating, what with all the stirring, but its definitely worth making. And there's something peaceful and zen about adding the stock, stirring, and watching it bubble away. The end result is creamy and warm and comforting.

Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash and Garlic

1 small butternut squash
6 garlic cloves (less if you prefer)
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

4-6 cups vegetable stock
4 tbsp. butter
1-1/2 c. Arborio rice
1/2 c. dry white wine (or water)
Parmesan cheese

Roast the squash:
Peel the squash, cut the neck off, and cut each half in halves. Scoop the seeds out of the bottom halves. Chop into 1" cubes. Roughly chop garlic. Put squash and garlic on a foil-lined baking sheet (trust me, it really aids in clean-up later) and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Roast in a 375° oven, tossing occasionally, for about 30 minutes, until golden and roast-y.

Make the risotto:
Heat the veggie stock in a sauce pan over low. In a deep skillet melt 2 tbsp. butter over medium heat. When melted, add the Arborio rice and stir. Let the rice toast in the butter until glossy, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes. Add the white wine/water and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let the liquid bubble away.

Once the liquid is mostly gone start adding the warm veggie stock. Using a ladle, add about a half cup at a time and stir. Continue to stir every minute or so, and once the liquid is mostly gone, add another ladle-full. Continue in the manner. Start tasting after 20 minutes - like pasta, the rice should be soft on the outside with a slight bite in the center.

Once the rice is done add in the roasted squash and garlic, as well as the other 2 tbsp. butter. Top with grated Parmesan and serve immediately.

* * * * *

I played a gig last night with the Hornet band, for a rather large crowd at a dinner event. Many people danced, which delights me to no end. One old woman wearing a forest green velour pants set had also penciled her eyebrows on in a matching green. Another old woman with a walker did slow, yet charming, spins around the floor, with a flourish at the end and obvious enjoyment. The youth group facilitating the dinner loudly danced to our big band music and drew in attendees to dance with them. It was wonderful fun.

After, a few band mates and I went for coffee and apple pie at a fast food place. The only other patron by that time of night was a truck driver, who chatted in line with us a bit. As we were fixing our coffee side by side the following conversation ensued:

Him: I've been working 29 years, 6 months, and 29 days.
Me: Not that you're counting or anything.
Him: I recently saw my hiring sheet. My date of hire was April 22, 19xx.
Me: Really? That happens to be the same day I was born.
Him: Well then, you are now 29 years, 6 months, and 29 days old.
Me: So I am.

We shared a laugh, and then went out separate ways. What an amusing and coincidental interaction with a complete stranger.

* * * * *

Here are the faces of today's successful trip to the dog park...



Run Lori Run said...

What a nice post. And I looooove butternut squash risotto. I've had it at restaurants but have never been able to recreate it well enough at home. Thanks for the recipe!

Misty said...

Thanks for the comment. I've got a recipe for a beet risotto that is a gorgeous color, if beets are your thing:

Just remember, add and stir. You don't want the rice to get dry, but you don't want it soupy either. Let me know how it goes!

Megan said...

What a face on that pooch! He is absolutely adorable. Reminds me of my Shar Pei, a face only a mother could love :-) Love your blog!