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Scrumptious Butternut Squash Risotto

Sadly…the blog I had written about how I decided to make scrumptious butternut squash risotto fell victim to the internet’s black hole…gone…and no way to retrieve it.

All I remember is that I consider risotto a type of comfort food. Its creamy texture and its flavor make it addicting to me. Earlier this summer, I blogged about some other risotto using for example tomatoes that are easily available fresh. It is winter now and it is only fitting to find an ingredient for risotto that is easily available during the cold winter months. Butternut squash!

No worries, if you are new to making risotto, I have linked a couple of additional links with additional tips and tricks for making perfect risotto, see below.

I only used half the butternut squash for this recipe. Check back for the recipe that we used the other half of the squash for. Unless the black hole of the internet eats my blog again, this recipe will be up soon. We made Butternut Squash Kale Quesadillas https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/butternut-squash-kale-quesadilla/ and Butternut Squash Ravioli.

I also saved the butternut squash seeds and roasted them, see recipe: https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/butternut-squash-seeds-roasted-to-perfection/

Ingredients (Makes 5-6 servings):
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ whole butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced*
½ teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ medium yellow onion, diced
1½ Arborio rice
Approximately 6 cups vegetable broth (3 veggie bouillon cubes and 6 cups water)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
½ cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese(more for serving)
Parsley, finely minced for serving

Preparation:
1. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the squash and add salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cook for several minutes, gently turning frequently. Cook until the squash is deep golden brown and tender. Make sure to not over-cook, squash should not be falling apart. Remove squash and set aside.

2. Heat broth in a separate saucepan over medium heat and keep warm. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until onion looks translucent. Add Arborio rice and stir continuously, cooking for 1 minute.

3. Using a ladle, add 1 ladle of broth at a time to the rice mixture on medium heat. Gently stir as the broth is absorbed. As soon as the liquid disappears, add another ladle of broth. Add salt and pepper along the way.

4. Taste the rice after adding about 5 cups of broth. It should be tender, not too soft or too chewy. When the rice is tender, add the cooked squash and turmeric. Stir gently. Add the Pecorino Romano and stir until just combined. Serve hot with Parsley and Pecorino Romano shavings for decoration.

Butternut Squash Risotto_6_small

Notes:
*Sauté the whole butternut squash, save half of the squash for another recipe.

Risotto freezes surprisingly well. Obviously it is best fresh, but if you like to have a healthy and yummy lunch to take to work. Freeze in small portions, let thaw in fridge overnight, and reheat in the microwave.

 

Not only does butternut squash taste amazing, look at all the health benefits packed into this fruit: http://www.wholeliving.com/134734/power-foods-butternut-squash

Recipe adapted from: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/01/butternut-squash-risotto/

 

Making the perfect risotto:

http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/common-mistakes/article/how-to-make-the-best-risotto-and-avoid-these-8-common-mistakes

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/risotto.htm

 

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Dutch oven risotto

So far…after checking numerous dutch oven recipe books…I have been rather disappointed by the lack of variety in vegetarian dishes for the dutch oven. However, there seems to be an abundance of meat dishes. In a dutch oven cook book from the 1950ties, one can even find a recipe for “oven-fried squirrel”–a recipe that reminded me of the “Hunger Games.”

In an attempt to introduce more variety to vegetarian/vegan dutch oven cooking, I was determined to use the https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/easy-no-fail-vegetable-risotto/ recipe as a start.

Hans and I tried it with a little backyard fire and during our recent trip to Canyonlands. Two of our friends totally approved of this recipe.

Ingredients (Makes 2 servings):
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup uncooked Arborio (short grain) rice
¼ cup sliced green onions, or regular white onion
1 vegetable bullion and 2 cups of water, another cup of water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium (½ cup) Roma tomatoes, chopped
Grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, if desired. Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
1. Coat Dutch oven (8-inch for two servings) with 1 table spoon of butter. (This may be easiest after warming Dutch oven briefly in camp fire. Make sure that the lid is closed. After warming Dutch oven, remove from fire and spread butter.)

2. Place Dutch oven over camp fire. Melt 2 tablespoons butter; add rice and green onions. While stirring, cook onion and rice briefly. Add beans, water, vegetable bullion, and basil. Cook for approximately 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. If mixture becomes too dry, add a little bit more water (approximately 3/4 cup of water).

3. Stir in tomatoes and continue cooking until rice is done. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.  (Note: vegan option possible, just use vegan butter and do not sprinkle with cheese.)

Dutch oven risotto

Dutch oven risotto

Health benefits:
* This recipe is low in fat, but bursts with flavor.
* In addition the beans are rich in vitamin C. (Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron and to maintain healthy skin, teeth, and bones. It is also an antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and helps fight infection.)
* The beans also have potassium and magnesium, which help regulate body fluids and maintaining muscle, bone, and teeth health, respectively.
* Compared to white long-grain rice, Arborio rice has more dietary fiber. Fiber can help with hunger control and may also lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
* Tomatoes are rich in vitamins C and E. They also contain beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Cooking enhances some of the health-giving qualities of tomatoes, particulary the effectiveness of lycopene (a bright red carotene).


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Easy, no-fail vegetable risotto

Afraid of making risotto? Or not having enough time to make risotto? Try this simple and fairly quick recipe for yummy risotto.

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup uncooked Arborio (short grain) rice
¼ cup sliced green onions, or regular white onion
1 (14-ounce) can vegetable broth*
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves**
1 cup frozen cut green beans***
2 medium (½ cup) Roma tomatoes, chopped
Grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, if desired. Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet until sizzling; add rice and green onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened (2 to 3 min.). Add vegetable broth and basil. Continue cooking until mixture comes to a boil (2 to 3 min.). Reduce heat to low. Cover; cook 15 min.
2. Stir in green beans. Cover; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed (10 min.).
3. Stir in tomatoes and remaining butter; continue cooking until heated through (1 min.). Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

* Substitute 1 vegetable bullion and 2 cups water
** Substitute 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil leaves.
*** Substitute 4 ounces (1 cup) fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces.

Vegetable risotto with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Vegetable risotto with Parmigiano-Reggiano