Hubbard Squash Risotto
Hubbard Squash is just like any other winter squash, wonderful, bright and colorful, full of goodness. We grew a bunch of the Hubbard squash this past summer and I have vowed to find many uses for them. I have used them just as I would any other hard squash, like pumpkin or butternut. The most versatile way is to oven roast them and then puree the soft orange flesh.
One of my new, favorite, comfort foods is risotto. NOT the kind that my manicurist was excitedly explaining to me. She doesn’t cook much, but she says she can “Do Rice, and I mean Really, Do Rice, and Do it WELL, you know?” Mind you, Gentle Reader, this is during my once maybe twice a year manicure that I get to use a gift certificate for. The gal knows what I do for work, so obviously that makes me wide open for food-talk. She proceeded to explain in great detail as she lotioned up my arms and massaged them until my eyes wanted to flutter close, her dinner the evening before at her girlfriend’s home. They were going to have risotto, and both were very “stoked” about the whole thing. (Did I mention that she has an 18 yr. old daughter and a 16 yr. old?) The girlfriend wanted to lift the lid and “check” the progress of the risotto, and Miss Manicurist quickly and firmly put that kabosh on that plan. “Everyone knows you absolutely Do NOT open the lid for that 20 minutes when the rice is simmering.”
I peaked at her from the corner of my eye, without trying to draw much attention that I was paying attention, but, “You said you guys were making risotto? Right?”
Miss Manicurist: “Oh yes, you know after you open the box and add the water, you put the lid on and Do NOT open it.”
uh huh. She had taken my new found comfort food, for which I have become very adept with skillfully executing the patient adding of white wine and butter and then the hot broth and stirring until the broth is almost gone and then adding more broth and more stirring and again and again, all the while thinking lovingly of those you share your heart with sitting down to partake of that heavenly goodness you so carefully, lovingly, created 40-45 min. later; and She profaned it to coming out of a BOX and slapping a lid on it for 20 minutes and VOILA! YOU HAVE RISOTTO!????? Yes, Gentle Reader, you are meant to perceive my voice escalating in volume and cadence. Risotto is something I take very seriously. Careers in the kitchen can be made or broken on risotto. It DOES NOT COME FROM A BOX.
Without further pressing of your patience I give my two loves in one:
Hubbard squash Risotto:
The basic ingredients are shown: pureed squash, a bottle of our neighbor’s home-made wine (which was FABULOUS!) and the arborio rice
FIRST: get approx. 5 cups of chicken broth simmering on a back burner.
Step 1. Melt 2 TBSP butter in large sauce pan
Step 2. add 1/2 finely diced onion to the melted butter and saute until it begins to soften and turn translucent.
Step 3. add 1 cup of arborio rice to the butter and onion and stir to coat the rice.
Step 4. pour in 2/3 cup white wine to the rice and onion and stir and cook until wine is nearly evaporated.
Continue adding the hot broth one ladle at a time until it is nearly absorbed and the rice become aldente and creamy.
In the picture above, you can see it is nearly there.
aha. The difference is subtle, but you can see the grains have swelled and the starches are creamy. You may or may not need the whole 5 cups of hot broth, you’ll know when the rice stops absorbing (hence ONE ladle at a time) It will thicken upon resting too. This rice is almost perfect. I now remove it from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of grated high quality parmesan cheese…..NOW its perfect….