Sunday, January 26, 2014

Curried Butternut Squash Risotto with Winter Greens

It's no secret that curry is a winter squash's best friend. Winter squash, especially butternut and pumpkin, readily adapt to both sweet and savory dishes, and curry expertly brings together spices from each of those applications. Utilizing those flavors in a risotto preparation creates an extraordinarily creamy and comforting result, the perfect antidote to the frigid winter weather. I like a little something green in my curries to contrast the hearty vegetable base, be it leafy greens or green peas, and here winter greens happily coexist with their seasonal squash counterparts. Lest it all become velvety indulgence, this risotto is topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and coconut, the ideal crunchy contrast to the pillowy bites underneath.

Curried Butternut Squash Risotto with Winter Greens
adapted from Serve Yourself by Joe Yonan
serves 1

For the squash pureƩ:
1 small (8 ounce) butternut or other winter squash, cut in half, seeds removed
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoons olive oil

About 2 cups low-sodium or homemade vegetable broth
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 small shallot or 1 large shallot lobe, coarsely chopped (or 1/4 cup white or yellow onion and add an additional garlic clove, if desired)
1 large clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup arborio or other risotto rice (or brown rice)
1 ounce (about 1 cup) baby spinach, kale, chard, or other greens (optional)
1 teaspoon unsalted butter or additional olive oil
2 tablespoons pistachios, cashews, or pepitas, toasted
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a small roasting pan with aluminum foil.

2. Season the squash halves lightly with salt and pepper, then place them cut side up in the roasting pan. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the squash is tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. (Alternatively, microwave it on HIGH, uncovered, for 4 to 6 minutes or until tender.) Let it cool, then scoop out the flesh; the yield should be about 1/2 cup. (Alternatively, you can use 1/2 cup of prepared winter squash or pumpkin puree.)

3. Meanwhile, bring the broth to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cover.

4. Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed small saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry powder and cook for about 1 minute, stirring to dissolve. Add the shallot and garlic; cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have slightly softened. Add the rice and cook for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring until the grains are evenly coated.

5. Add 1/4 cup of the hot broth; cook the rice, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan frequently to keep the rice from sticking. Repeat with 1/4 cup amounts, allowing the broth to be absorbed before the next addition; this will take about 20 minutes. You should end up using about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of broth. The rice should be tender but al dente: still slightly firm to the bite inside the rice grain. (Note: If you use brown rice, the cooking time will be longer and additional broth will be required).

6. Add the roasted butternut squash and greens, if using. Cook for few minutes, until the rice is tender but not mushy and greens are wilted, adding some of the remaining broth to keep the risotto moist but not soupy.

7. When the rice is done to your liking, add the butter, stir to combine, taste and add salt as necessary. Sprinkle with the pistachios and coconut; eat while the risotto is hot.

No comments:

Post a Comment