Tag Archive | Cook

Fall Foods Recipe #5: Butternut Squash Risotto

Cooking risotto is on my bucket list because, to me, it always seemed like a real high-class type of dish. If you think about nurturing a cup of pasta for an hour, it must be something really special, right? That was my thinking! Proving the point further, for our 3rd anniversary we went to a popular restaurant, Portland City Grill, and what did I order from the fancy menu options? Risotto, of course!

It was absolutely, positively HEAVENLY. Definitely a top-notch meal. That’s when I logged the ingredients and flavors in my head (thanks for the good memory DNA, mom & dad) and decided to replicate it at home. My version was good enough to be served in our 777sf apt, on Target plates, with “silverware” and a paper towel napkin, yet it was far from competing to the original chef’s version.

A few weeks later, when I came home with a nice butternut squash from the farm, I knew I would have many options to use it. Half of it went into the Cozy Chicken & Vegetable Casserole recipe and the other I used for this second risotto attempt. This came out much creamier than I wanted, and I believe it was because I cooked the squash in a pan before putting it in the risotto. The result was the squash cooking down too much and with all the stirring, it started to get “mushy” and hence, became too creamy.

Normally I would always encourage a cook to have the confidence to try altering a recipe if you think it can be done differently or better, but when it comes to risotto, just follow the what the directions say. There’s no award when a risotto comes out  mushy. However, you do get bragging rights when a risotto comes out perfect – to all your friends, family, and co-workers who will forever become impressed with your cooking abilities!!

So the next time you feel like sprucing up your cooking talents, print out this recipe, pick up a butternut squash, bottle of white wine, shallots and arborio rice. Then grab a stool and get ready for a nice hour of hanging over the stove. And remember: success will bring great rewards. Good luck!

 4 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each
Total Time: 1 hour


  • 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups chopped peeled butternut squash (into itty-bitty pieces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Place broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the broth remains steaming, but is not simmering.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in squash; cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, salt, pepper; cook for 30 seconds. Add rice; stir until translucent, about 1 minute.
Add wine and cook, stirring, until almost absorbed by the rice, about 1 minute.
Stir in 1/2 cup of the hot broth; reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has been absorbed.
Continue adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until all the liquid has been absorbed, until the rice is tender and creamy, 30 to 40 minutes total. (You may have some broth left.)
Remove from the heat and stir in cheese.
Serve immediately and enjoy with a glass of the remaining wine!

Fall Foods recipe #3: Creamy Corn & Leek Orzo

We are up to our ears in corn!

Corn was late to pick this year, but once it came, it was well worth the wait. When you can buy a dozen ears for $2, there really isn’t a single reason to go out for a $80 dinner that we won’t even finish. This year, I actually got to walk into the corn field and pick the corn myself!

The plan for all this fresh corn? We tried freezing some to enjoy in the long winter months. I learned that freezing is a MESSY  job (there was literally corn kernels in every inch of the kitchen!), but it will be well worth it when you need a “fresh” veggie with dinner. If it wasn’t for the *awesome* job our FoodSaver does, I may not be doing this again next summer. Love that thing!

We also ate a lot of corn-on-the-cob, enchiladas with corn, eggs with corn, and creamy corn & leek orzo.

Creamy corn & leek orzo is a great dish for the main attraction at the dinner table, or even as a side act to fish or chicken. It travels really well, so you will definitely be packing it up for lunch the next day.

Creamy Corn & Leek Orzo

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 4 tablespoons finely sliced washed leek (white and light green part only)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ears corn, top half of kernels cut from cobs and cobs scraped for milk
  • 1/4 cup of Parmesan, grated (optional)
  • salt and pepper


Bring a medium pot of boiling water to a boil over medium heat. Season the water with salt, then add the orzo and cook to al dente. Drain, reserving the cooking water.

In another pot of boiling water, over medium heat, blanch the leeks for 1 or 2 minutes, then remove and shock in a bowl of ice water. Drain and set aside.

In a skillet, over low heat, melt the butter and add the corn and scraped milk from all 4 cobs. Cook for 1 minute and add about 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water. Bring to a simmer and cook until thick and reduced, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add more pasta cooking water if gets too dry.

Add the blanched leeks and heat through, about 1 minute. Add the orzo and toss to combine. Season with salt, to taste. Transfer the corn and orzo to a serving bowl,  sprinkle Parmesan over the top, add pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Serves 6

Total time: 1 hour

Adapted from here.