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Now browsing: Hometown News > Columnist Archives > Cooking - The Seasoned Chef

Versatile risotto can stand alone
Rating: 2.73 / 5 (193 votes)  
Posted: 2007 Nov 23 - 02:55

Risotto is a classic Italian rice dish with a labor-intensive technique of adding stock a half cup at a time until the arborio rice is delectably creamy, while the grains remain separate and firm.

Risotto can be flavored with all sorts of ingredients such as seafood, chicken, sausage, cheese, wines, herbs, and in this case, vegetables.

Most risotto dishes start with onions slowly cooked in butter and finish as a dish so elegant it could be served with nothing else but a good glass of wine.

Butternut squash risotto

Makes four servings

2 tablespoons of butter, unsalted

4 cups of butternut squash, peeled and juiced in a juicer

1 cup of onions, minced

1 tablespoon of garlic, minced

3 cups of chicken stock

1 pound of arborio rice

Salt and fresh ground white pepper to taste

First we need to prepare the butternut squash. In this case, we are going to use only the juice from the squash as the absorbing liquid in the cooking process. This will not only give the risotto that smooth delicious flavor of the butternut squash, but also turn the rice a brilliant orange color.

First, peel or cut the skin off the squash and cut it into cubes, then extract all of the liquid from the squash using a juicer.

Set the juice to the side and begin cooking the risotto.

In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, add the onions and slowly cook for 10-12 minutes or until they are translucent. Then add the arborio rice and cook using a wooden spoon to gently stir for 8 minutes or until the rice begins to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Then, add the squash juice 1/2 cup at a time, only after the previous juice has been absorbed, occasionally stirring for 15-18 minutes. Now, you need to start tasting the risotto. It

should be firm, yet cooked through. The total cooking time should be 20 minutes.

Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper and 2 tablespoons of cold butter. Stir until well blended and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Tips and Techniques

Do not over stir the risotto, because as you stir it, the rice releases starch. If it releases too much starch, the rice will turn to mush.

Herb-roasted chicken, butter-poached lobster or slow-cooked lamb shoulder go very well with this dish.

I would choose a bottle of white Burgundy. Try Louis Jadot Macon-Lugny, 2005 vintage.

Contact Chris Kennedy at Seasoned Catering at (561) 351-0221, or e-mail chris@seasonedcatering.com.





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