Savory. It tastes like a warm home. Like familiar people gathered around a large table. Like all is right with the world.
Savory. I repeated the word multiple times while eating this dish. I quickly became lost in the whispers of sage, thyme, and nutmeg—spices I usually reserve for Thanksgiving dinner. Prior to indulging, the aroma of roasted acorn squash poured out from the oven filling all 800 sq ft of our home with autumn goodness. I was smitten before it ever hit my mouth. Actually, I was smitten after seeing her pumpkin risotto. I knew I had to make it–only instead of pumpkin, using the acorn squash I had picked up from the farmers market earlier that day.
Change. I’ve quietly repeated this word in my head over the last couple months, hoping my brain adapts to the idea. My husband is finishing his last year of graduate school, making it his fourth. Twenty plus applications are being sent out to internship sites all over the country. And match day will be here too quickly. Change is on the horizon. But somehow it falls to the background after a bite of this risotto. Savory. That’s just what I need right now.
- Roast acorn squash. Place in a 350° oven. Bake for about 20 minutes or until you are able to cut squash in half. Place the two halves on a baking sheet, skin side down sprinkled with a bit of olive oil. Bake for another 20 minutes or until squash is soft. Allow to cool. Remove squash from outer peel. Mash and set aside. (This can be done up to a week in advance.)
- In a saucepan, melt butter on medium-high heat. Saute onions and garlic until translucent.
- Add rice to pan, coating with butter mixture. Add acorn squash and spices. Stir.
- Cook over medium heat, adding one cup of chicken stock at a time until liquid is absorbed. Stir often. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Before serving, remove bay leaf and stir in cheese and cream. Garnish with a sprig of fresh sage, a sprinkle of parmesan, and a dash of nutmeg.
• Instead of the traditional arborio rice, I use a mixture of short grain brown rice, pearl barley, and spelt berries. I’ve been told whole grains cancel out the heavy cream. Ha! If only.
• Interchange chicken stock for vegetable stock for a vegetarian dish.
• To reheat, place risotto in pan with stock, cooking on medium-low heat. Allow risotto to warm first before stirring, otherwise you’ll break your rice and end up with mush.
• If your rice is still crunchy after adding all the stock, add a bit more and continue to cook.