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.


  1. I made this risotto tonight, it was so, so wonderful. Restaurant quality!!thanks for sharing

  2. I’m a newer reader and I just have to say that your blog is refreshing. I really enjoy reading it and I’ve pinned your recipe. That sounds so amazing!

  3. Ginny, I really appreciate your writing,
    Your unaffected, candid voice,
    The beautiful photos,
    The knits,
    The children,
    I love seeing all the littles, cozy in their hand knit woolens,
    And particularly your newest , an infant wrapped in wool looks so healthy and perfect.

    Thanks for sharing

  4. Oh goodness, that sounds delicious. Perfect for a cold winter day.

  5. Oh dear – I hope everyone is feeling better and getting some sleep.
    Your risotto sounds delicious – and is such a beautiful color. My kids like it with peas, mint, lemon and basil! While I’m waiting for things to cook or boil I knit dishcloths – never thought of cleaning my kitchen cabinet doors!!

  6. the fifth picture would be awesome on my wall! would you consider selling some of your pictures?
    it’s a beautiful red little bird! What’s its name?

  7. I have risotto in the pantry and a butternut squash on the counter. I’ll be trying your recipe this weekend. Prayers for a quick recovery for your family.

  8. I love making butternut squash risotto. I never thought about adding caramelized onions. I usually add sage and nutmeg and always pepper flakes. Thanks for the recipe! I hope your family feels better soon!

  9. Hi, Ginny! Do you double the elderberry recipe or anything when you are making it? How many 4 oz. packs do you order for one recipe?

  10. I hope you all get feeling better Ginny! I can’t wait to try the risotto. It sounds fabulous.

  11. I would do anything to be part of this group!!!!!If I dont win which I doubt I willI never win anything.I would like to sign up!!!!!Thanks

  12. Kate Talley says:

    Oh, Dear Ginny! Mastitis is just horrible! Please, with all of your sick littles, take care of yourself! If we were neighbors I would come over and put things in order, and leave you with dinner, desert, and tea! Sending love! Kate Talley

  13. So sorry to hear that you are all feeling a bit buggy. I know how hard those sleepless nights with lots of coughing can be. Praying that you and your family get a bit more rest tonight.
    The recipe looks amazing…and the bit about cleaning the cabinets while you wait was a great idea! 🙂

  14. I have been reading your blog for a while but this is my first post.

    I did the same thing the other night! Started the risotto and cleaned the kitchen. I find it is a good thing to have a young helper with because they can keep stirring for you 🙂

  15. I can’t believe all that snow, over here in England we have had nothing but rain, rain and more rain with terrible floods. Your post today made me smile, clean the cupboard doors while you wait is one I will remember.

  16. You know, I plan to clean the kitchen tomorrow – maybe I should make risotto while I’m working! I made it once; delicious, but too long. I like this idea!!

  17. I’ve never had risotto before…I must try this…thanks!
    Hope you are all soon blessed with health again.
    And the warmth of spring.
    I’m so tired of winter.
    And tired.
    I just want to tap a tree and drink the sap.

  18. Your risotto sounds wonderful, I have a butternut squash sitting on my counter that may need to be a risotto thanks for the recipe! We are having a sick day too-hope your mastitis gets better that’s no fun when mama is sick!

  19. I love the ‘clean the cabinet doors while you wait.’ ALL recipes should have such good advice thrown in. Thanks for the giggle, Ginny, on a very cold and rather bleak afternoon in London.

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