Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto with Pistachios and Lemon

I'm currently intrigued by Melissa Clark's new cookbook Cook This Now after reading some good reviews online and listening to my office mate rave about the cauliflower dish from the book that was posted on Smitten Kitchen. While trying to be responsible, I decided I should check out some of the other recipes before deciding to make a purchase decision. After trying this recipe, I think I'm pretty much sold on the book. (Is it too late to add it to my Christmas list?) The use of grated squash in this recipe is brilliant. It cooks and melds with the rice. I'm not a huge fan of leeks (mainly due to texture), but found that I appreciated them in this recipe as only the flavour and not the annoying texture was there. The lemon brings a bit of spring to a satisfying wintry dish. I was shocked by how little Parmesan this recipe calls for (only as a garnish), but found I didn't miss it at all. I made this for myself on a night when the boy was out, figuring he wouldn't appreciate the mainly vegetarian, vegetable-centric dinner, but he took some for lunch and liked it (until I told him how little Parmesan was in it!).

Butternut Squash Risotto with Pistachios and Lemon (from Cook This Now, posted recipe on Cannelle et Vanille)

1/2 pound peeled butternut squash
about 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium leek, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 cups arborio rice
2 rosemary branches
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/3 cup dry white wine (I used vermouth)
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped salted pistachios
grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a food processor fitted with a fine grating attachment, shred the squash.
2. In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer.
3. Melt the butter in large skillet over medium heat.
4. Add the leeks and cook, stirring them occasionally, until they are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.
5. Stir in the garlic and cook it until fragrant, about 1 minute.
6. Add the rice, squash, rosermary, and salt. Stir until most of the grains of rice appear semi-translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
7. Pour the wine into the pan and let it cook off for about 2 minutes.
8. Add a ladleful of stock (about 1/2 cup) and cook, stirring it constantly and making sure to scrape around the sides, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Continue adding stock, a ladleful at a time, and stirring almost constantly, until the risotto has turned creamy and thick, and the grains of rice are tender with a bit of bite, about 25 to 30 minutes.
9. Pluck out the rosemary branch and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and black pepper. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice if needed.
10. Garnish with the pistachios and optional cheese before serving.

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