October 18, 2009

Butternut Squash and Brown Sugar Risotto

Risotto - as we all know - is delicious. Hailing from Northern Italy, a truly magical part of the world, what makes risotto unique is the maintenance of starch at the end of cooking that binds the grains together as a cream...but happily without the cream. Usually, risotto is made with dry white wine. The problem, is that when you're pregnant you're not supposed to consume alcohol. Now, depending on where you live, this seems to be a fairly cultural topic. If you live in Lake Forest Park, then you don't consume alcohol. If you live in Madrid, then you dink a glass of wine and it's no big deal. If you're from Lake Forest Park but you live in Madrid, then you take a lick or two of really good wines and generally avoid alcohol. The truth, for me, is that I haven't been missing much, not feeling too well and having come upon a whole bunch of recipes and drinks that I wouldn't have otherwise tried. Including this one.

Roughly inspired from a Bon Appetite recipe, this dish is perfect for a chilly fall Sunday afternoon. It's rich flavors pair perfectly with the filling elements of sturdy rice and hearty squash. It's cheap and easy to make and takes about 35 minutes.

Serves 4.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 table spoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup short-grain white rice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 butternut squash cut into cubes (turns out to be 3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. Make the vegetable broth and set aside.
  2. In a large fry pan (your largest), saute the onion in olive oil. Cook until translucent and a little bit brown. Add the garlic and brown sugar. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 2 minutes. stirring regularly.
  3. Add the rice, stir one minute.
  4. Add the broth and increase heat to bring to a boil - when boiling, decrease heat back down to medium. Stir in the squash, thyme, and cinnamon. Simmer until broth is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir often. When broth is cooked down, stir in almond milk and continue to cook another 5 minutes. You may need to add more water if the broth cooks down and the rice is still too firm.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remember that pre-made broths have a lot of salt already.
  6. Serve immediately in large, shallow bowls.
  7. Optional: garnish with plain yogurt.

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