Butternut Squash Risotto

Risotto… a love story.

Some foods evoke feeling and Risotto is one of the dishes that does that for me. I think I’ve figured out why.

As most of you who read this blog know, Stefen and I do most everything together. We’re married, we have a business together, we do yoga & go grocery shop together. I assume most people just don’t get it and that’s ok. It works for us.

We do have things we don’t do together. I like to swim, he hates it. He loves to ride his bike, me not so much. He loves cooking and me, I like to eat and I’m happy to do the dishes. My point is that most of what we do is a partnership that works well together, we balance each other out. 

Mostly I write the blog posts based on the recipe testing process. We talk about ideas and then I write it up. This week’s blog post stumped me. I sat at the counter in our kitchen and wrote down the ingredients and instructions as Stefen made the Risotto. It seems so simple and it is. And it’s Vegan. And it’s delicious. 

But what to write? 

So I asked Stefen about the rice. Yea- Arborio Rice. Not much intrigue there. But then we started taking about it. He had a funny story about making a Beet Risotto that was a disaster. “It tasted great but the Pink Pepto-Bismol color was disgusting.” He was teased for months by his cooks and the General Manager.

Then Stefen told me about when he first learned how to make Risotto.  “There is a romance with Risotto. You must dedicate the next 30 minutes to standing at the stove and stirring in the stock ladle by ladle. You pour your love and attention into it and people can taste it.” 

It hit me. Cooking is about dedication. Commitment to the craft. Diligence, resolve, enthusiasm, zeal, conscientiousness, perseverance, persistence, tenacity, drive.  We all hope to have these traits but it's an ideal that seems so hard to achieve. It's a romantic notion. 

When I first met Stefen I was a mess. I was in therapy, I was in the middle of a career crisis, I’d had a long string of disappointing boyfriends. I really had no faith that he’d be the guy. But he was attentive and dedicated to me, slowing ladle by ladle showing me that I could trust him. He let me simmer until I was ready. 

Maybe that why so many people don't cook, failure would be devastating. But come on, it's just food, right. And success is so delicious.

So, grab a glass of wine and take the time (it’s only about 30 minutes) to make Risotto. 

Stirring the risotto

Stirring the risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto in a Kabocha Squash Bowl

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Cups Butternut Squash, large diced
  • 6 Cups Vegetable Stock
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, small dice
  • 1 teaspoon Grape-Seed Oil
  • 1 Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 Cup Arborio Rice
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Tablespoon of Yellow Miso Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

For the Mini Squash Bowl:

  • 4 Small Baby Kabocha Squash
  • 1 teaspoon Grape-Seed Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Granulated Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat over to 350 F
  2. Combine diced Butternut Squash and Vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer.
  3. For the Mini Kobocha Squash bowls: Cut off the top (stem side) of the squash and carefully scoop out the seeds. Add a 1/4 teaspoon of oil, granulated garlic & salt into the interior of each squash. Place top down in an oven safe pan with 1/2 inch of water. Cook approx. 45 minutes.
  4. In a Medium sized pot or Dutch oven, add 1 teaspoon oil until warm. Add Onions and a pinch of Salt. Cook until Onions are translucent. 
  5. Add rice and wine. Cook until the wine in reduced. 
  6. Add Stock/Squash mixture 1/2 cup at a time, continue to stir until stock is reduced. Repeat until the rice is soft and youíve added all of the stock and squash.  Use potato masher to incorporate squash.
  7. Add Miso, Nutritional Yeast & Apple Cider Vinegar, stir to combine. 
  • Risotto is incredibly versatile. You can make it with any winter squash (Kabocha, Butternut, Pumpkin, Acorn) as well as other vegetables including Mushrooms, Spring Peas, Asparagus, Lemon & Almond and of course Beets, just to mention a few ideas. Basically, you could fold in just about any fresh vegetable you can get your hands on.
  • We recommend some rustic crusty bread to go along with the Risotto.