About once a week or so, I stray from my usual quick meals and make something a little more special for dinner. I light some candles, turn on jazz (our secret indulgence), open a bottle of wine and force the Husband to help me in the kitchen. We call these evenings date night and it gives us a reason to eat at the table.
On Friday night, I decided to use some of the fresh fall vegetables in our fridge to make a butternut squash and leek risotto that, I must admit, turned out amazing. Risotto is considered a difficult dish to make, but I’ve somehow managed to master it.
First, I peeled, seeded and chopped a large butternut squash into 1/2 inch pieces, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted it in the oven for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
While the squash was roasting, I sauteed half a chopped onion, several minced garlic cloves and the white and pale green parts of three large leeks thinly sliced in extra virgin olive oil.
Then I added one cup of arborio rice and 1/3 cup of dry white wine and let it simmer. Once the wine absorbed, I threw in the roasted squash and a pinch of saffron and stirred for a few seconds before beginning the hard part of making the perfect risotto.
While I was dicing, roasting and sautéing , I had a pot of six cups of vegetable broth heating on the stove. When I was ready, I added the broth to the risotto one cup at a time, let it simmer and absorb. I kept doing this until the rice turned fat and the mixture creamy. I took the risotto off the heat, added some fresh grated parmesan cheese and chopped rosemary and served.
The final product was divine.