Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fall is Here - Roast Mushroom and Butternut Squash Risotto

I needed some comfort food while under the weather and decided risotto was just what I needed (I’m generally not a soup-person, it’s a consistency thing, there are obviously exceptions). I couldn’t decide on a butternut squash risotto or mushroom risotto so I combined the two.

I always have problems with risotto – I follow the directions to a T, stirring, feeding it with slow additions of warm broth - it always turns out gummy AND at the same time, slightly undercooked, each grain having a slight crunch. I think the gummy is just that I let too much of the liquid cook off. The undercooked I just can’t understand – it says it will take 20 minutes but I’m at the stove for 45 . . . The good news on this front  is that I finally feel redeemed and my risotto turned out well.

I began by cutting my butternut squash in half (a feat in and of itself) and roasting it in a 350 degree oven with olive oil and sea salt until it was tender, about 45 minutes. While the squash was roasting away I chopped up my mushrooms (baby shiitake supplemented with some regular button mushrooms) and threw them in a sauté pan with some caramelizing onions and a healthy helping of crushed garlic. Once my shiitakes were roasted I pulled them out of the pan and set them aside. Next, I poured a dollop of olive oil into the pan and sautéed about 1.5 cups of Arborio rice until it was translucent.

 At this point, I would normally add in a ½ cup of white wine BUT I didn’t have any on hand and so I skipped this step (rest assured, it was a-ok). I had warmed about 4 cups of veal stock with 1 cup of water in a sauce pot. I added in my first ladle-ful of stock and a few sprigs of thyme and set to work stirring. With every addition of stock I gave my rice a stir and watched my little risotto come to life. 

Once I had run out of liquid (adding more if necessary) and my risotto was the right consistency, I turned off the heat and folded in 1/4 cup grated parmesan, the shiitakes and 1 cup of the butternut squash that I pureed with a bit of cream and water. I chopped up the rest of the squash and topped my risotto with some of the cubed squash and a sprig of fresh thyme. It was the perfect runny consistency and I loved the veal broth which gave it a nice heartiness that complimented the mushrooms nicely. I deemed it a successful under-the-weather-cold-weather meal.

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