Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day Dinner- Butternut Squash and Vanilla Bean Risotto

Valentine's Day was yesterday, so I made a special dish for NH and I. One of our favorite indulgences is risotto because it's rich and takes some time to prepare well. This is a recipe written by Giada de Laurentiis; I thought it sounded interesting so I saved it to try on Vday. It was superb! I did change it a little by roasting the butternut squash instead of cooking it in the vegetable broth. It gave it a little bit of crusty crunch that I liked. It serves 4 as a main course.

Butternut Squash and Vanilla Bean Risotto

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)
4 cups Vegetable broth
1 Vanilla Bean
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a Pinot Grigio)
1/2 to 3/4 cup Parmesan, to taste
chopped chives.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Toss the butternut squash cubes with about 1 Tablespoon olive oil and some salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, tossing at least once. Set aside.

Warm the broth in a saucepan over medium high. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Add these to the broth as well as the whole vanilla bean. Turn the heat to low and cover to keep warm.
Saute the onion in the butter until tender, about 3 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat. Add the wine and simmer until evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of broth, stir until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Make sure to add the vanilla seeds as well, which may clump in the broth. Continue adding the broth until it's gone, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the squash, and Parmesan and salt to taste. Sprinkle with chopped chives. Serve with a wine that you love.

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