Sunday, February 28, 2010

And this is how it's done

I finally made the risotto recipe I posted a few weeks ago. It was "a good idea." And as I am a novice at risotto making (unlike many of you) I decided to enlist the help of my friend Jeanne and her kitchen. After picking up some fresh supplies in the Brixton markets we made this delightful winter dish. Good meal, good times.

Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto

a la Giada de Laurentiis


  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large vanilla bean
  • 3 cups peeled cubed (1-inch wide) butternut squash, about 12 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped onion (from 1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives


In a medium saucepan, warm the broth over medium-high heat. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise.Scrape out the seeds and add them, and the bean, to the broth.

(We used this vanilla I got while in Mexico with my buddy Dr.Sears as being poor college students made real vanilla a bit expensive)

When the broth comes to a simmer reduce the heat to low. Add the butternut squash to the simmering broth and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the butternut squash to a side dish. Turn the heat on the broth down to very low and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to the broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Discard the vanilla bean.

Turn off the heat. Gently stir inthe butternut squash, Parmesan, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chives. Serve immediately.

As I consider a meal without dessert to be the 8th deadly sin we also made this surprisingly delicious crisp. I say surprisingly delicious because fruit is not in season here in London and we used a medley of unripe nectarines, plums and raspberries. The best thing about crisps is that a little butter and brown sugar can make anything delicious.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A really good idea

I haven't made it yet but I think we all should. I'm going to dedicate this to Cody because of his love of all things Giada.

Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto

Monday, February 1, 2010

February = Vanilla

It's February. It's cold where many of us are.  It's a month with a valentine's day.  Scott wanted us to do Avocados (let's do that in another month)... I thought about Chocolate (I mean, I think about it all the time)...but really... here's what I am choosing for us to play with:


Vanilla.... go to it!