vegetarian risotto, squash risotto, squash leek risotto, milk and sugar, milk and sugar sisters, michelle stroebe

This risotto is so simple to make, yet has so many complex flavors that it can easily be served to friends/family at a nice dinner party (they don’t have to know how easy it really is to make!).  I roasted a whole acorn squash, but only used half of it for the recipe – you can certainly add more and it would be even more delicious, or serve the remaining squash as a side for another meal.  The peppers I used were from our local farmer’s market and I didn’t quite catch the name… they were what I thought of as a delightful hybrid of a bell pepper and jalepeno – sweet with just a little heat.  The leek also came from the farmer’s market and was a perfect addition to this risotto.  Remember to wash your leeks well!

To roast the acorn squash, simply wash, cut in half, and scoop out the seeds.  Drizzle the squash with a little olive oil and salt/pepper.  Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, or until the squash is tender.

vegetarian risotto, squash risotto, squash leek risotto, milk and sugar, milk and sugar sisters, michelle stroebe

Feel free to play around with the ingredients for this risotto… other great combinations include: asparagus, lemon zest, & mushroom, peppers, corn, & asparagus, etc.  I generally add fresh oregano to the risotto, however I didn’t in this recipe, but definitely do so if you like more complex flavors/earthiness!  I let the dried mushrooms simmer in the veggie broth for about 1/2 hour before using it in the risotto so that the flavor of the mushrooms infused into the broth.

Acorn Squash Risotto

6 cups vegetable broth

1 small package (1 oz) dried mushrooms (I love the mushroom trio from Trader Joe’s)

1/2 acorn squash, roasted (see above) and diced

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 small leek, cleaned & cut into pieces (see above)

2 small bell peppers or sweet peppers, diced

1 1/4 cup risotto/arrabiata rice

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4-1/2 cup parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, grated

dried or fresh oregano, to taste (~2 tsp)

salt/pepper, to taste (~1/2 tsp each)

Add the package of dried mushrooms to the vegetable broth and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.  Heat a medium to large skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and leeks and stir frequently until the leeks are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the risotto rice and let cook another 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and oregano (if using) and let cook 1 minute, or until fragrant.  Add 1-2 cups of the broth (enough to completely cover the rice but just barely) and stir well.  Immediately cover with a lid and turn the heat to medium-low.  Let simmer about 5-10 minutes, or until all the liquid is evaporated.

Once the liquid has evaporated, add 1 cup liquid to the rice, stir well, and cover with the lid to let simmer.  Continue until all the liquid is gone and the rice is creamy (~20-25 minutes). Add the pepper and roasted squash with the last addition of the broth and stir well.  Once the rice is cooked completely and all liquid is gone, take off the lid and turn off the heat.  Stir in the shredded cheese.  Top with minced parsley or oregano, and enjoy!

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