meatless monday: butternut squash risotto with spinach and root veggies, sage oil


Meatless Monday, we meet again. Sorry for such the long hiatus, folks, but things have been busy. The holidays are when things tend to quiet down at work, and subsequently they allow time for Monday night eats. This one goes out to the dirt farmer again and the farms they pull from. A remaining turnip from the box serves as the heart of this dish and with the right seasoning and temperature can almost make you believe you’re eating fish. It is also an ode to a dinner we had at Natalia’s over the weekend where a friend of ours could not stop talking about risotto. It made me realize that I haven’t made risotto since the first time I wrote for The Telegraph,but that I still had a fair amount of Arborio in the pantry. So, here is to the last week of fall, to local farmers and colorful plates (raises bourbon) and to you guys who love to read about eating. Happy Holidays!

Butternut squash risotto
1 butternut squash, halfed
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
32 oz vegetable broth
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by roasting the squash at 425. Top the halves with a little salt before putting in the oven.

Risotto has been written about here several times and follows a pretty normal process, Heat the oil to medium, add the onions and garlic and sweat for 8-10 min. Add the rice and toast about 4 mins. Heat the broth in a separate pan. Add the wine and stir until it evaporates. Slowly add the broth a couple of ladles at a time and stir until absorbed. Continue until all broth is in and the rice is tender. Once the broth is in, it is time to add the “flavor”. Remove the squash from the oven and spoon one half into a food processor and puree. Add the cheese to the rice and then the puree and stir.

While working on the the risotto, make the veggies.

10 sage leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 turnip, diced
4 carrots, sliced with a peeler
1/2 bulb garlic, roasted
remaining half of squash, diced.
1 bunch spinach

Heat the oil over medium high and fry the sage leaves about 4 minutes. Simmer 10 minutes and pour out and puree in the food processor. Pour 1/4 of the mix back into the pan and heat to medium. Add the roasted garlic, then the turnips and carrots. Cover and heat 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach to wilt and add the squash.

Plate the dish by placing risotto into bowls and layering the veggies. Finish with the reserved oil and sea salt. Enjoy!

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