Tag Archives: vegetarian

Brown Rice Risotto w Winter Squash & Pecans

12 Feb

I found this recipe in Bon Apetite this month, and since I still have butternut squash in the basement from my garden, I thought I’d give it a try.  I’ve been looking for meatless recipes that are still hearty enough to satisfy the family, and that aren’t soup. For some reason my family equates soup with torture.  Anyway, I made a few modifications, including using brown arborio rice and substituting pecans for the pine nuts.

It does take considerably longer with brown rice, but I think the brown rice is a little more forgiving – I was able to achieve that creamy risotto texture with little stirring and none of the gumminess that sometimes plagues white rice risotto.   This could easily be a wonderful vegetarian dish by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, and of course, you wouldn’t want to use bacon fat!  I couldn’t resist though – bacon makes everything taste better, and I keep leftovers in the fridge for recipes like this that benefit from that bit of extra flavor.

Here’s my version:

Brown Rice Risotto w Winter Squash & Pecans

  • 4 T olive oil or bacon fat, divided
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Sea salt
  • 1 T finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 T Sherry
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5-6 c low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 c brown arborio rice
  • 1/4 c medium-dry Sherry or Marsala
  • 3/4 c pecans, chopped
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)

    Heat 2 T olive oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add squash; sprinkle with sea salt and sauté until beginning to brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add chopped sage and pecans, and cook until squash is  just tender, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle Sherry over; toss to incorporate. Transfer squash to plate. Wipe skillet clean.

    Heat remaining 2 T olive oil in same skillet over high heat. Add chopped onions, sprinkle with sea salt, and sauté until onions are soft and beginning to brown, about 6 minutes.  Bring chicken stock to a simmer in large saucepan. Cover and keep warm over low heat. (Or microwave, reheating as necessary so you are adding warm stock to the rice.)

    Add arborio rice to onions in skillet. Stir until rice is slightly translucent, about 4 minutes. Add Sherry; stir until absorbed. Add 1 cup warm broth; stir occasionally until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.   Add three more cups of broth, letting the rice absorb each cup before adding the next, and stirring occasionally.  Add the remaining cup of stock, reduce heat, and cover the pan, cooking 15-20 minutes until rice is just tender but still firm to bite and risotto is creamy.  Remove lid, add squash mixture, and cook until squash is heated through and most of the liquid is absorbed, 5-10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

    Top risotto with shaved Parmesan.


    Butternut Squash Lasagna

    22 Jan

    This was a surprise hit with the family.  Kids are never too keen on trying anything new, and I thought the husband would complain about the lack of meat, but I was pleasantly surprise.  The basil is the key ingredient, so don’t skimp or substitute!  I was inspired by this recipe from the Food Network, but I decided to roast the squash instead, and add ricotta.  I meant to add a few tablespoons of brown sugar to the squash in place of the cookies, but I forgot and I’m glad I did.  I don’t know whether the squash was sweet because it caramelized while roasting, or if that particular squash was sweet to begin with, but there was not a hint of bitterness and no need for added sugar.  In fact, I’ll probably add a little cayenne with the salt and pepper before roasting next time – I like things spicy anyway.  I also added ricotta to the squash – more cheese never hurt anything.  The lasagna was very rich – perfect for a cold winter day, but you could leave out the ricotta if you wanted a lighter dish.

    Butternut Squash Lasagna

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