Every week should start with a clean house and a good meal. Most of the weekend went to organizing, cleaning, laundry and house-gardening. When everything was checked off the to-do list, I set to making dinner. When meat is not an option, it's sometimes hard to come up with an interesting vegetable dish that is filling as a main course. Risotto is usually suggested to us in Italian restaurants, but they are often made with chicken stock. At home, you can throw anything you want in risotto, and we haven't had it in a while, so that's what we decided on. And it does make a great excuse to open a bottle of wine!
ACORN SQUASH RISOTTO WITH PINE NUTS & SAGE
1/3C Extra virgin olive oil
1 Small Onion, diced
1 Large clove garlic, chopped
1 Small Acorn squash, cut into 1/2” cubes
2 C Arborio rice
1/2C white wine (good drinking wine, such as a fruity chardonnay or sauvignon blanc)
4 C+ Vegetable Stock, heated (add a bit more than 4 cups, just in case)
1/2-3/4C fresh grated Parmegiano Reggiano cheese
2 Tbsp fresh chopped Sage
1/4 tspn freshly grated nutmeg (do not sub, use only whole nutmeg)
1/4C toasted pine nuts
Salt, Pepper & Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Peel and dice squash and onion while stock heats in a sauce pan. Heat oil in a non-stick stock pot and add the onions and squash. Cook over medium heat until it all starts to soften. Add garlic and cook a few more minutes. Add rice and stir constantly so it toasts.
When rice is lightly toasted, add the wine and stir in. Then begin adding the stock one ladle at a time. Stir each ladle full in until the rice absorbs the liquid and continue adding a ladle and stirring until all the liquid has been absorbed and rice is just a tiny bit al dente (about 15-20 minutes). Add the cheese, pine nuts, sage, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a sprinkle of cheese, chopped sage and crushed red pepper flakes. Serve with something crunchy, like garlic toast.
This mushy dish needs a crunch to complement it, and possibly some color. I can't stand all-white food. I also needed to use up the whole wheat sourdough from Saturday's market. So, I cut thin slices and laid them on a sheet pan. I drizzled a little olive oil and sprinkled garlic powder over them and broiled for 3-4 minutes to lightly toast. I spread a tiny bit of leftover home-made spaghetti sauce on and covered with shredded parmesan and cracked black pepper. Broiled again to melt the cheese and topped with fresh basil chiffonade.