Tag Archives: rice

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Living in Los Angeles this past year, I did not get my fill of butternut squash.  Winter squash makes a surprisingly brief appearance out here– You see it in November.  November.  Not nearly the season my Midwestern soul expects. I’ve been craving it.  So when I saw some (five!) beautiful butternut squash at Whole Foods this past week, I grabbed one.  (Well, two.  The first I roasted & ate, alone and slightly delirious.)  The second went into risotto.  

This recipe is different from many butternut squash risottos, because it does not use sage.   Instead, it uses a little prosciutto and dried thyme.  The stock is important, though.  When I don’t have homemade on hand, I use Better Than Bouillon base.  Usually I use their vegetable-based products, often the “No Chicken” base (which is vegan), or their mushroom broth base (also vegan).  You could use either in this recipe, or else a low-sodium canned or boxed stock that has been simmered down slightly to intensify its flavors.  This makes 4 generous main course servings.  Enjoy!

4 T. olive oil, divided
1 medium butternut squash
Sea salt
2/3 c. walnut halves or pieces
5-6 c. chicken or vegetable broth
½ tsp. dried thyme
3 T. + 1 tsp. butter, divided
1 oz. prosciutto, finely chopped
1/3 c. finely diced onion
½ c. white wine
1 large granny smith apple
2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. Peel and seed butternut squash and cut into a ½”-dice. You should have a scant 3 cups. Toss squash with 3 T. olive oil in a 9×13” glass roasting pan. Spread squash out to a single layer and season generously with sea salt. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes. Carefully stir the squash and roast for another 15 minutes (40 minutes total). Squash should be roasted but only very slightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside. (Squash may be made up to 6 hours ahead. Rewarm in oven before continuing.) Turn oven temperature down to 350°F.

Toast walnuts in the oven until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly and chop medium fine. (Nuts may be made up to a day ahead.)

Place broth in a medium saucepan and stir in thyme. Bring liquid to a boil and turn off the heat. Cover and let broth steep for at least 10 minutes. Grate apple. You should have about 3/4 cup.

In another medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium-high heat, sauté prosciutto in 1 tsp. butter until darkened and slightly crispy. Scoop proscuitto out and set aside.  Bring broth back to a low simmer.

In the same saucepan used to crisp the prosciutto, melt 1 T. olive oil and 1 T. butter. Add onion and sauté gently over medium heat until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in Arborio rice. Stir well, making sure that every grain of rice is coated with butter & oil. Set timer for 18 minutes. Add white wine. Cook, stirring, until wine evaporates.

Add ½ cup of broth. Stir rice constantly until broth has been absorbed.  Add another ½ cup of broth, and stir constantly again. (It is this stirring that makes risotto creamy.) Continue adding broth by the ½-cupfuls, stirring constantly between each addition. At the 12 minute mark, stir in the grated apple.

When 18 minutes are up, taste the rice. It should be soft, creamy, but still have a little bite. If it is not quite done (tastes chalky), continue adding broth, ¼ cup at a time, and stir. Keep checking rice. It should be done within 4 minutes. Turn down heat to low. Stir in crisped prosciutto, 2 T. butter and Parmesan cheese. Gently fold in roasted butternut squash. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm.

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Red Peppers Stuffed With Rice and Veggies

The filling for these peppers is savory and nutty, both hearty and surprisingly delicate.  The mushrooms add meatiness, so the dish can be used as a satisfying vegetarian entree or as a side for roasted meat.  Use a high-quality aged (sharp) cheddar and shred it finely to distribute its flavor.  Also, go easy on the salt.  The broth and the cheese may be salty and it is hard to predict how much additional seasoning you’ll need.  You may make these peppers up to a day ahead, and they reheat well in both the oven and microwave.  (The peppers become softer, which some people prefer.)  This recipe makes 4 large or 5 small stuffed bell peppers. Enjoy!

¾ c. brown rice
Scant 1.5 c. chicken or vegetable broth

Olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
Salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

16 oz. white mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tsp. dried thyme

3 oz finely shredded aged cheddar cheese (about 1 c.)
2/3 c. sliced almonds, toasted
2 T. minced chives (opt)

4 large or 5 small red bell peppers
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a small saucepan, cook brown rice in broth according to package directions.  Uncover and set aside.

Meanwhile, coat a large skillet with olive oil and set over medium-high heat. Once pan is warm, add onion, carrot and celery and season lightly. Saute until tender and beginning to brown. Add garlic and saute, stirring constantly, 30 seconds longer. Remove vegetables from skillet and place in a large bowl.

In the same skillet, again heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and season lightly. Saute until beginning to brown. Crumble dried thyme into mushrooms and saute, stirring, until fragrant. Remove from heat to cool.

Spray an 8×8-inch baking pan (or similar dish) with cooking spray. Wash peppers and pat dry. Using a pairing knife, cut off the top of each pepper and carefully remove the seeds and supporting membranes. If needed, cut a sliver off the bottom, leaving the cavity intact, so each pepper will stand up. Season the inside of each pepper with a small pinch of salt.

Add lukewarm mushrooms to vegetables in large bowl. Add lukewarm rice. Gently stir in shredded cheese, toasted sliced almonds, and chives, if using. Once ingredients are well- mixed, taste and adjust seasoning.

Fill peppers with rice mixture. (Note: Any extra can be placed in a buttered ramekin and either baked or microwaved to reheat.) Place peppers in prepared pan. (Peppers may be made up to one day ahead at this point. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.) Bake for 35 minutes or until peppers are crisp-soft and filling is heated through.  Serve immediately.

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