Tuesday, April 10, 2012
My mission to get my 21-month old eating new foods continues. (She's winning.) As a foodie, I refuse to give in, so I simply blame teething. She did just get her bottom canines and the top ones remain a work in progress, so meals have been a challenge of late. One dinner last week consisted of a piece of bread with butter (she calls it cheese - whatever works), a few peas and some peaches. Rice, pasta and cheese remain on the good list, but meat in all its forms is suddenly (and adamantly) on the no list. But I like a challenge.
I was planning our dinner for Saturday and I'd settled on veal chops for me and Jeff and a beet and goat cheese salad with candied walnuts and arugula. But I needed a starch. A nice butternut squash caught my eye and I decided to try to make butternut squash risotto. And maybe, just maybe, wee one would partake. I mean it's rice, it's orange, and I was going to add parmesan cheese.
I was further encouraged when she eyed it in the pan and yelled "cheeeeeese!". Excellent. My plan was working. I scooped a small amount into her princess dish and blew on it til it cooled. She was ready, spoon in hand as soon as I put it down. She took a scoop put it in her mouth and... spit it out. Then she picked up the cherished princess dish, held it out to me and said "No." Another battle lost.
Don't let her opinion sway you though. This risotto is silky smooth, a bit sweet and pairs nicely with a grilled steak or chop. I tend to get risotto fatigue and just make mushroom risotto, so I'm happy to have found another variety we like. And I'll get little one to try it again... I may have lost the battle but...
Butternut squash risotto
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
5 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 sprig thyme
small bunch of fresh sage leaves, chopped (about 10-15 leaves)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, bring the squash and stock to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Using a hand blender, puree the mixture. Alternatively, transfer to a blender or food processor. Return to pan and keep warm over low heat.
In another saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook until tender. Don't let the onion brown. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the rice and stir together, allowing the rice to cook for a minute. Add the wine and stir until the wine has been absorbed. Add the sage and thyme.
Begin adding the reserved squash/stock puree about one cup at a time. Allow most of the liquid to be absorbed before adding more. Continue adding liquid until rice is almost cooked through. It should be al dente. Stir in the cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.