Acorn Squash Risotto
This autumn inspired acorn squash risotto is so creamy-good and comforting I only think one thing as I taste bite after velvety bite: How could anything so simple taste so unbelievably good? It is my favorite gluten-free comfort food.
The trick to a tasty risotto- with its signature texture- is to stir it during cooking. No cheating in a rice cooker. No covering it and setting it on low heat, praying to the Risotto Gods, hoping it will produce a tender-yet-firm-enough bite boiling away in it's sad, ignored little pot. You need to tend these pearly grains. Coax them. Sweet talk them. Risotto needs attention to bloom properly. So that means a commitment on your part. But it's only a twenty-two minute commitment. You can handle that, right?
I guarantee, it's worth it.
Acorn Squash Risotto
1 medium acorn squash, halved, seeded
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and/or butter
4 cups light tasting vegetable broth (dilute with water if it's too onion-y)
1 small onion, diced fine (omit for FODMAP free)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced, to taste
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free mild curry powder
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
1 1/2 cups raw short grain Arborio rice
1 cup white wine (optional; replace with broth if alcohol-free)
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan
Chopped toasted pecans
Chopped dried cranberries, soaked to soften
1. First- roast the acorn squash. Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Roast the acorn squash by placing the two halves cut side up in a baking dish; add about two inches of hot water into the bottom of the dish. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.
2. Meanwhile- start your risotto. Heat the broth in a separate sauce pan, and keep it warm.
3. In a heavy medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and/or butter on medium heat, and sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add the curry, nutmeg, and uncooked Arborio rice and stir well, until the rice is coated. Stir and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Add the wine and stir for a minute or two.
4. Pour in 1 cup of the hot broth, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring frequently for 7-8 minutes. When most of the liquid is absorbed, add the remaining cups of broth 1 cup at a time, stirring and simmering until each cup of liquid is absorbed before adding the next one. The whole process should take about 20-25 minutes; 22 minutes is my goal for al dente; if you cook risotto too long it may get gummy.
5. When the squash is done, remove it from the oven and using a spoon, scoop out pieces and add them into the risotto- I like to do this along with the last cup of broth. Stir to combine. When the final cup of liquid is absorbed cover and set aside for a few moments before serving. Risotto likes to rest a bit before serving.
6. Warm up four serving bowls. Spoon the risotto into the bowls, and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan, some chopped toasted pecans, or chopped cranberries.