That's right folks, it's 2012 & I'm back at the blog with the hopefully manageable New Year's resolution of posting twice per month. I'll need your help via encouragement and comments to keep it going all year long!
The inspiration for today's post comes from the red Dutch oven I got for Christmas. I always thought you needed a Dutch oven to make cool things like risotto. Well it turns out that BHG just prefers to photograph stuff in Dutch ovens because they look cool. So I used a recipe from their feature on Ellie Krieger for Butternut Squash Risotto to break in my new cookware. Turns out, you don't specifically need a Dutch oven to make risotto--unless you want to bake it.
Risotto marries the creaminess you crave when the weather gets blah with the low fat content to which you resolved to ascribe in the new year. Arborio rice, the main ingredient, is super starchy and as you continue to add liquid and stir, the dish thickens. Unfortunately the stirring and the adding liquid are the drawbacks to making risotto. Traditional recipes call for adding 1/2 cup of liquid at a time, usually taking 30 minutes or so. If your powers of awareness are running on high, you could probably turn this into a mindfulness meditation of sorts (which is another thing I need to get back into the habit of this year). For some of us, however, 30 minutes chained to the stove is not feasible--and that's why I'm giving you the option to bake it til you make it (I'm sure risotto aficionados consider baked risotto to be faked risotto).
Depending on how much time you have for dinner, you can follow the stove top directions or the oven directions. Also feel free to sub out the pumpkin puree for a 10oz package of frozen butternut squash puree.
(Baked) Pumpkin Risotto
Italicized instructions are for the stove top prep method so read carefully!
5 cups vegetable broth (low-sodium is best)
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (i.e. Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc)
1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin puree
2 T chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup shredded hard cheese (i.e. Parmesan, Asiago, Reggiano)
Salt & pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan heat broth until hot but not boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover to keep warm.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a Dutch oven (or large oven-safe pot with tight-fitting lid) heat oil over medium heat. Add onion. Cook and stir for 6-8 minutes until softened but not browned. Add rice; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add wine and simmer about 2 minutes, stirring constantly until it is absorbed.
Add 1/2 cup of hot broth. Simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it is absorbed. Repeat with the remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing each addition to absorb before adding more, about 30 minutes total.
Add all the broth and bring mixture to a boil. Cover and bake for 35 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed, stirring halfway through.
Add cheese and mix well. Add pumpkin and sage. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Both times I made this dish, I did not put any salt in it. The flavor of the cheese and sage was enough! Enjoy with some dark leafy greens and a glass of the white wine you used in the recipe. Bon appetit!