Posts Tagged ‘risotto’

Since I’ve recently moved to a new city – Ottawa – I’ve quite enjoyed exploring the new market and food scene here. I love how I can also cross the river and end up in Québec, where food is inspired by ages of artisan craft. In homage to la belle province de Québec, we recently cooked a feast using local ingredients, featuring a Maudite beer and a plump, gnarly and bright orange hubbard squash. This risotto is perfect for those cold evenings we’ve been getting recently; and the smooth and rich pieces of roasted squash mixed in keep it lively.

Maudite risotto with squash_Ed

Ingredients – 6-8 servings

1 onion

1 large clove garlic

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 well garnished sprig of fresh thyme

8-10 cups homemade (or packaged if you don’t have any) vegetable stock

1 cup dark beer (we used Maudite)

1/3 cup parmesan

1/2 tsp salt plus any more to taste

1 1/4 cups arborio rice

1/2 kuri (hubbard) squash, cubed, roasted (400F) in 2 Tbsp olive oil + 1/8 tsp salt + 1 tbsp fresh thyme + 1 minced clove garlic


To prepare the roast squash, preheat the oven to 400F and peel and dice the squash into 1 inch cubes. Mince the garlic and combine the olive oil, salt and fresh thyme with the garlic in a large bowl. Place squash cubes into bowl and toss with all ingredients. Arrange the squash cubes on a baking dish, making sure none are touching so they roast best. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until the edges become golden and the squash is tender. Remove from oven and reserve.

Heat the stock in a pot and keep it simmering with a lid on while you cook the risotto in another pot.

Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion with the fresh sprig of thyme until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Once the onion is ready add the garlic and cook for one minute, and then add the arborio rice and stir to coat. Cook the rice grains in the oil/onion/garlic mixture for 3-4 minutes, until they become translucent as well. When the rice is ready, add the beer and stir to mix it all in. After this, add the stock one cup at a time, stirring, until the stock is absorbed. You don’t need to be stirring constantly, but it does require a lot of stirring for best results.

Continue adding stock one cup at a time, until the rice is cooked through and the risotto is creamy. Season with salt. When just about ready to serve, stir in the parmesan and the cubes of squash. Serve in bowls or deep plates, and garnish with a pinch of parmesan and fresh thyme if you like!

Bonne appétit.


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To continue with the squash theme of the season, I’m posting this recipe for this very delicious risotto that I invented with my roommate during a dinner party earlier this week. I found that using delicata squash in this risotto actually avoided the need for parmesan, making this recipe an easy one for those looking for dairy-free recipes, and a delicious option for those who just simply don’t have any in their fridges (as in my case).

With the autumn changing to winter, I find myself craving the warmth of dishes like this one. The key to making risotto ultra creamy is to stir it constantly while it cooks. It may feel tedious at the time, but it sure pays off in the end!

Ingredients – 6 servings

-1 onion, diced
-1 Tbsp butter or oil + extra for roasting squash
-1 1/2 cups arborio rice
-3 cups vegetable broth
-1 cup water + more if necessary
-1 cup dry white wine
-1 whole medium-large delicada squash, seeds removed and cut into quarters
-dash of salt


Preheat oven to 400F. Clean and quarter the squash, then cover with a light coating of oil and a dash of salt. Place in a pyrex dish and bake, uncovered, approximately 30-35 minutes or until very soft and the edges begin to brown.

Place the broth and water in a covered pan and bring to a boil. Heat butter or oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan. Cook onions in pan for 2-3 minutes, until translucent. Add arborio rice and stir. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until grains become lightly toasted. Add in wine and stir. Once most of the wine is absorbed, add a cup of broth, and continue stirring. Repeat once liquid is absorbed. Mash the delicata squash and add into rice. Stir. Continue adding broth all the way until it has been fully absorbed. Keep broth simmering while you are adding it. If you run out of broth before your rice is fully cooked, just add a bit more bouillon or water that you have preheated. By the end, all that stirring will result in an unbelievably smooth risotto.

If you like, keep a few pieces of squash separate untili the end to garnish the risotto with. You can add a pinch of parmesan or crushed hazelnuts to top this delicious meal off. Bon appétit!


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Be they braised or sautéed, hidden in quiche or shining in vichyssoise, I absolutely adore leeks.  They combine the delicate flavour of a Spanish onion, with the vibrancy of a green onion and a lovely subtle nuttiness.  I have been eyeing leeks all winter long, but at $5.99 a bunch, they have been far overpriced for a student budget.  This week they went on sale, and I have been relishing their abundance in my refrigerator!

I wanted to create one-pot meal that was satisfying, yet let the leek’s flavour shine.  Without cream, I dared not attempt a vichyssoise. Instead, I decided a creamy risotto infused with leeks would be just the comfort food I needed.  To add some colour and sweetness (and inspired by the leek and potato theme), I included a sweet potato in the risotto.  The result was lovely and balanced, with earthy undertones from the potato and just a hint of spring from the leeks!


Leek and Sweet Potato Risotto

(4 servings)

½ sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes

1 tablespoon butter

2 leeks

2 garlic cloves

¼ cup white wine or sherry

1 cup Arborio rice

3-4 cups vegetable broth, kept piping hot (but not simmering) over low heat

1 teaspoon thyme

¼ cup fresh parsley

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Steam the cubed sweet potato until cooked, but still al dente.  Meanwhile in a separate pot, sweat the leaks and garlic cloves in the butter until translucent and fragrant.  Add the rice, and toast for 2-3 minutes.  Deglaze the pot with the wine, simmering until the alcohol has mostly evaporated.  Add ½ cup of broth, stirring gently until absorbed.  Continue adding ladlefuls of broth, allowing the rice to absorb each new addition before adding the next, until the rice is cooked al dente and slightly creamy, about 18 minutes.  You may not need all your broth or you may need extra.

Stir in the thyme, fresh parsley, sweet potato, and Parmesan.  Allow the risotto to sit covered with no heat for 2-3 minutes. (Incorporate an extra tablespoon of butter to make really rich and glossy). Adjust the seasoning and serve!

–       Catherine

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I was watching the latest Top Chef episode the other night.  The losing chef was sent home and chastised by the judges for not having risotto which oozed and made the Arborio the dish’s star.  It occurred to me how much I love risotto and that perhaps my attempt might produce a more satisfactory version?

The last time I had made risotto was at Christmas – a simple saffron infused version that shone under a seafood bisque.  I wanted to try something a little more wholesome.  The lovely thing about risotto is you can really pair it with anything – sage and butternut squash; lemon and peas; pancetta and radicchio — the sky’s really the limit!  Inspired by some mushrooms in my fridge and Italian sausage in my freezer, I set out to make a risotto.  I used the broth to rice proportions from the back of the Arborio rice box, and off I went from there.

There is something therapeutic about all that stirring (especially after getting worked up all afternoon by construction workers outside your window), and the ultimate product was delicious!  My risotto may not have met Top Chef standards (my guess is they would critique too much garnish, not enough focus on the rice) – but it was certainly creamy and savoury.  The only thing I could have wished for was fresh thyme!


Italian Sausage and Mushroom Risotto

(4 main-course size servings)

7 cups broth

1 onion, diced

3 italian sausages, casings removed and crumbled

1 pound cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1 ½ cups Arborio rice

½ cup white wine

½ teaspoon thyme

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons butter

Bring the broth to a boil and keep steaming on stove.

Meanwhile, saute the onion and the Italian sausages until cooked through in a medium saucepan on medium heat.  Add the Arborio rice, and stir until toasted (about 4-5 minutes).

Deglaze the saucepan with the wine.  When absorbed begin adding broth in ½ cup additions, stirring constantly and adding more broth when previous amount is absorbed (every 2-3 minutes).  After 20 or so minutes, the rice should be creamy and the rice soft (you may not have used all the broth).  Stir in the Parmesan and the butter, until cheesy and rich.  Let mellow for a minute or two, before digging in!

–       Catherine

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