Archives for March 4, 2014

when it snows it snows {and my risotto recipe}

I heard the ice start hitting the roof around 3 a.m.  It shifted to snow sometime after.  I finally went to sleep around five.  Job was running fever, I have a mild case of mastitis.  My kids have some sort of unpleasant respiratory bug.  It just wasn’t a night for sleeping.  So that was Sunday night.  Last night was much the same, only minus the ice and snow plus lots of coughing.  All in all, I think six-ish inches of snow fell here yesterday (Jonny says four, I say eight so I am going with the middle.)  For the first time in recent years, I didn’t want it to stop falling.   I declared a movie day for the kids.  I kept busy making a fresh batch of elderberry syrup, a giant pot of tea with honey and lemon, and finally one big slow pot of risotto.  While I waited for each cup of broth to be absorbed, I cleaned those things in the kitchen that don’t get daily attention.  At the end of the day everyone felt terrible and the dishes didn’t get done, but random parts of my kitchen were clean.

Every time I mention risotto here, I am asked for my recipe.  It keeps evolving, and it’s pretty simple, but I’ll try to share my current favorite way to make it here.  As far as the spices go, the measurements are very approximate-so season to taste!  I oftentimes make this for lunch, and when I do we end up eating lunch mid-afternoon because it takes so long to make and I can’t seem to plan ahead enough.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Caramelized Onions           Makes about 8 servings (ish)

Over low  heat saute 2 1/2 to 3 cups chopped/diced onion in about 1/2 cup olive oil until golden brown.  This takes awhile, as much as half an hour.  When the onions are getting close to being done, heat 9 cups broth in a separate pot (I use chicken, vegetable would be fine) and keep warm over low heat.   Cook one small butternut squash by your preferred method (sometimes I bake, but usually I peel, dice, and simmer in a little water in a covered pot).   Once the onions are caramelized, add 3 cups Arborio rice to the pot along with ~3/4 tsp turmeric, ~2tsp chili powder, 2 tsp salt, and lots of freshly ground pepper.  Saute for a couple minutes.  Then add broth, a generous cup at a time waiting for liquid to be absorbed before adding the next cup.  This will take forever.  Clean your cabinet doors while you wait.  Actually you may have time to remove everything from your counters, clean them, and then replace everything.  Once the risotto is fully cooked, add your butternut squash.  I mash my squash up first and then stir it in.  Adjust seasonings.  I am on a big black pepper kick, so I add more to my bowl after serving.  I used to make this minus the spices, plus a bunch of Parmesan cheese, but I prefer it with the turmeric and chili powder.  It’s cheaper to make that way too.

I know there are baked risotto recipes out there that are surely far more simple.  Maybe one day I’ll try one of them.  In the meantime, my kitchen cabinet doors are clean.