Well, this has been your typical week in Ohio. It has snowed hard enough that my walk from the bus stop to work left me drenched as snow melted off my head and ran down my face. Grey was certainly the color of the week and I felt sorry for my poor flowers as they buried their heads deeply under the Ohio onslaught. Today the sun is shining and the weather was warm enough for an extended doggie playdate outside. And it may snow again tonight. At least I could take a few pictures of the bright day and happy flowers, before they bow their heads again.
Last night I used up another butternut squash from our CSA by making risotto. There are tons of recipes out there for squash risotto, unfortunately most of them require “no” ingredients. Here’s my version–Elimination Diet Safe!
Cut a squash in half and remove the seeds. Save the seeds and roast them, they are also elimination diet safe! I clean them well, toss with olive oil and seasonings (seasoning salt, cumin, kosher salt, pepper, whatever you want!) and put in a 250-300 degree oven. I stir them often until golden brown. You can hear them popping, it’s just like those pumpkin seeds of fall! Remember your childhood jack-o-lanterns? Have fun, but be careful, they will burn easily.
Roast the rest of the squash. You can peel the squash and chop into pieces to roast, but I halved mine and roasted in the skin. I apply a little olive oil to the pulp of the squash and place them on a cookie sheet with the pulp facing down. When the shape and texture of the squash do not matter, I find this is easiest. I bake at 400 until softened. I test the squash with a fork in the thickest part. The skins often are browned in a few spots. Hopefully, some of the pulp will have caramelized in the process, yum! Remove from the oven, reduce the heat and toast the seeds. When the squash is cool enough to touch, a spoon will easily remove the pulp, leaving the skins behind.
Heat 4c of vegetable stock gently in a saucepan over low heat.
In the meantime, chop 2 shallots thinly and saute in 4T olive oil until translucent. When the shallots are softened, add 1 1/4c of risotto rice and stir together over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add 3-4 fresh sage leaves that have been chopped thinly and stir together. Then, add the vegetable stock one ladle-ful at a time to the rice. Stir the rice constantly until it absorbed the liquid. Then add another ladle-ful. When about half of the stock remained, I added the squash and blended it well with the stock. If you have an immersion blender, this would be a good time to pull it out. I added the stock/squash mixture until it was all absorbed.
Add a sprinkling of nutmeg, salt and fresh pepper to taste, and a few more leaves of chopped sage. I find that I need a little more salt lately since I am not using butter or cheese. I think it is likely normal and nothing to fear. Just add the salt at the end, and build in more as needed. It should enhance the flavor, that’s what salt, cheeses, and butter does! When I tasted the risotto, it still needed something. I added 1T of bottled lemon juice. That was it! It brightened the flavors the way white wine typically does with a risotto. Perfect! Throw a few of those roasted seeds on top if you like. Or add to a trail mix.
I know my pictures aren’t as perfect, but who had time for photography? Dinner was waiting!