Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Meatless Month: Day 7

Hello, squash.  Half of this butternut squash featured prominently in last Monday's dinner.  I decided, rather ambitiously, to make a risotto with roasted butternut squash and caramelized onions.  I've made risotto before, and caramelized onions, but I didn't really have any sort of recipe for this. 

I started by getting my onions cooking, as in my experience caramelizing them takes quite a long time.  Here's my beauties after cooking for a while.  No seasoning added yet, just onions and a bit of oil.  Aren't they pretty?

While these were cooking, I also started the squash roasting in the oven.  Again, minimal seasoning here - just some oil, salt, pepper, and dried sage that I crushed a bit between my fingers.  Here's my cubed squash, about to go in the oven:

 I love the vibrant, autumnally orange shade of butternut squash.

The risotto was pretty basic.  I made a quick, simple vegetable broth using water, an onion, a carrot, and some celery, plus peppercorns, salt, and bay leaves, and used this as my risotto liquid.  I started with some garlic, deglazed with a bit of white wine, and then did the typical rice, liquid, stir, stir, stir! that is risotto-making.  When the grains of arborio had soaked up as much broth as they could take, I stirred in some Romano cheese, a little butter, and added the squash and onions.

It doesn't make for the prettiest picture, but I did my best to make it look appetizing.

This meal was more steps than a typical dinner in the Hungry household, and I wish I could say it was worth it, but it fell a bit short.  I think if the broth had been a bit more aggressively seasoned the final dish would have been infinitely better.  I will say that it tasted better for lunch the next day, and Mr. Hungry - a former butternut squash hater - enjoyed this very much.  There is little he won't eat if caramelized onions are involved. 

I've only made risotto a handful of times, but it's really not difficult to do or to cook the rice completely.  So why is it I've had it in several restaurants and it's often either not done all the way, or gummy, or just plain bad?  If I can do it, why can't chefs? 

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