Thursday, November 12, 2009

Butternut squash and chard risotto

Risotto is another great way to make a little bit of something go a long way. Arborio rice is more expensive than the regular kind, but it's an absolute must in my kitchen.

1 butternut squash
1 bunch swiss chard, stripped off the stems and chopped
1 chopped onion
1 cup arborio rice
chicken broth, warmed
maybe some white wine
freshly grated parmesan

Chop the squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Roast, cut side down on an oiled baking sheet, at 400 degree for around 45 minutes or so. Take out and let cool. You can do this part the day before, and throw the squash into the fridge until you're ready to make the risotto. Once it's cooled, peel and chop. Start the risotto by sauteing the onion in a little olive oil in a good big saucepan over medium heat. When it's soft, add the cup of uncooked rice. Deglaze with a little white wine, if you have it. Slowly add the warmed chicken broth a cup or so at a time, stirring almost continuously. I say "almost" because a traditional risotto is made by stirring constantly, which allows the starch in the rice to break out, creating a very creamy dish without the addition of actual cream. But I've found I can step away for a minute or two at pretty regular intervals without detriment. As the broth is absorbed, add more. Add the squash after about 10 minutes. After another 5 minutes or so, add the chard. After 25 minutes or so, the rice should be cooked through and the broth should be mostly absorbed. Add a handful or two of parmesan, stir in, and serve.

Cost: 80 cents or so for the squash, maybe $1.50 for the chard. Maybe $1 for everything else, depending on how much cheese you use. (I buy a two-pound block in bulk, then grate myself in my food processor. Pre-grated cheese tastes like preservatives.) Let's say $3.25 total, and it serves 3-4 as a main dish.

Butternut Squash on FoodistaButternut Squash

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