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today's special: butternut squash risotto by Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2
continued from page 1

the recipe
For the creamiest risotto, you'll want to do the initial sauté in butter rather than olive oil. Still, the results will be perfectly tasty if you choose the healthier olive oil route, so ultimately, I leave the choice up to you. Don't skip out on the final dab of butter, however; it really does make a difference.

2 Tbsp. olive oil or butter, plus another tablespoon of butter 
1 small butternut squash, about 1.5 lbs
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup of white wine
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
5 cups chicken or veggie stock (you can use a mixture of water and stock if you like, though the flavor will be richer the higher the stock content)
4 packed cups spinach leaves

time about 1 hour
serves 4

1 Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds and strings in the middle with a spoon; discard all that goop. Trim off the ends of the squash, then use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel. Dice the remaining squash into ¼" cubes. Peel and mince both the garlic and the onion. Wash the spinach leaves and discard any thick stems.
2 Now pop the stock (or water/stock) in a pot, and heat until it's warm. Keep it warmed over a low heat.
3 In a sauté pan or saucepan (basically you'll want a wide-bottomed pan with sides at least 2" high so your rice doesn't come flying out of the dish as you stir; a heavy bottom will ensure the most even cooking), heat about 2 Tbsp. of olive oil or butter over medium heat.
4 Sauté the garlic and onion until the onion is nice and soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the squash and cook for another 5 minutes, until the squash is well coated with oil and just beginning to cook on the outside (it'll begin to stick slightly to the pan).
5 Stir in the rice, and make sure the grains are all well coated with oil. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the wine and stir it up some more while the liquid simmers.
6 When the wine has mostly cooked off, say after a minute or two, add a half-cup of the stock and nudge the heat up to medium-high. Stir to moisten all the grains. After a couple of minutes, the liquid should mostly have been absorbed; add another half-cup or so of stock, and keep stirring to loosen the rice from the bottom and sides of the pan. You'll basically repeat this adding and stirring and waiting to absorb process until the rice is cooked through but not mushy, and the consistency is neither dry nor soupy; this will take about a half hour or so. You may find the risotto finishes cooking before all your broth is used up; you might also find that the rice is still a little hard when the five cups have all been added. Should the latter happen, just warm up some water and add that.
7 When the rice is getting close to being cooked through -- when you suspect another addition or two of liquid should be all that's necessary -- stir in half the spinach leaves. Let the leaves cook and shrink down a bit while you continue to stir, then toss in the rest of the spinach.  
8 When you're happy with the consistency of your rice, stir in the tablespoon of butter and serve. Shaved parmesan makes a tasty and pretty garnish, although the dish is delicious just plain as well.


check out these related recipes: 
paella | risotto with shiitake mushrooms, zucchini and red pepper

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