As you know, it’s officially autumn here in the Eastern United States. And while it’s no secret that the discovery of Sweet & Sara marshmallows and the delicious s’mores that followed really signaled autumn to me, last night Red and I enjoyed another fall favorite. Yes, my darlings, it's risotto season.
Like crêpes, risotto is another dish that used to make me nervous. That fancy rice! All that constant stirring! My wrist hurt! With regular rice (brown basmati for us), you turn it on, give it a stir, and leave it alone for 40 minutes. Bingo, you’ve got rice. Risotto is a much more demanding dish, but it’s 1) worth it and 2) not as hard as I once thought. You do have to stir, though.
Owing to my risotto anxiety was the fact that the first time I made it was during August. In my non-air-conditioned apartment. It was madness, I tell you. I had the upright fan pointed at me, the stove fan on high, and the back sliding door open, and I still succeeded in sweating into my risotto. Epically gross. I determined then that risotto would be reserved for fall and winter only. I’ve stuck to this decision, and I have no regrets.
Last night, I made a tried-and-true winter squash risotto that always leaves us happy. The recipe is here, though of course I veganize it. I’ve also learned to steam the squash before adding it to the rice, because it’s easier that way. Our magical Titan Peeler handily stripped the lovely butternut squash I’d scored at the grocery store on Monday, then Red helped me chop it. Well, first I chopped half, and he complained that the pieces were too big. I handed over the knife and that was that. We had way more than the cup and a half the recipe calls for, but so what? You can never have too much squash. It took about 15 minutes to steam it all in the microwave, and then it just chilled out on the counter while I stirred the risotto. It was kind of meditative to stand there stirring a big steamy pot of risotto, ladling in more broth every few minutes and doing it all over again. At least it was until my wrist got tired. Then my stirring may have suffered, but it worked out. I added the squash close to the end, because it was already cooked, but it spent enough time being stirred with the rice to meld flavors and thicken the risotto a little.
It turned out beautifully. Here, see for yourself:
Our next challenge is figuring out what to do with the rest of it. I’m happy to eat leftover risotto all week, but Kittens Gone Lentil’s baked risotto balls gave me another idea. Baking risotto sounds tricky, but if the worst that happens is that they fall apart, we’re in no worse shape than we were before. Wish me luck!
In totally non-risotto news: