I have chronicled my love for risotto and all things rice (particularly dessert) many times in this blog. As a child, arroz con almejas was my favorite dish. Short grain rice cooked with garlic, parsley and clams. To this day when I go back to my parents’ home, I ask my mom to cook it for me.
When Melissa Clark’s new book “Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can’t Wait to Make” arrived, I was instantly drawn to the butternut squash risotto with pistachios and lemons. Aromas of leek, garlic, rosemary and butternut squash in my kitchen was what I needed on that rainy Sunday morning.
Jon carefully grated the lemon zest while I stirred the thickening rice. “Is it ready yet?” he asked anxiously. He was proud to be adding the finishing touches to our lunch. Meanwhile, Miren sat on the counter nibbling on the chopped pistachios and grated Parmesan. It was one of those days.
The risotto was gone in a matter of minutes. That’s how good it was. Fragrant, creamy, woodsy and fresh.
As the title suggests, Melissa’s book contains 120 recipes, both savory and sweet, organized by month and season. Just like I like to eat. My next recipe? Winter salad with fennel, radicchio, walnuts and Manchego. It has my name written all over it.
And for the muffins? Well, what I can say. We always have muffins in the house.
There was leftover butternut squash that I steamed and mashed (I like to keep leftovers in the freezer for last minute cakes). This time gluten and dairy free butternut squash, apple and hazelnut muffins with quinoa, coconut milk, coconut oil, hazelnuts and all kind of goodness.
They were perfect for our Halloween breakfast the next day.
And speaking of risotto… during this summer’s trip to the Basque Country, I paid a visit to my friend David de Jorge whose cooking show “Robin Food” is immensely inspiring, laid back and fun. Always full of great ideas and clever humor.
I was invited back to cook an autumn-inspired lunch of clam and wild mushroom risotto followed by a gluten free plum, red currant and quinoa galette. The show finally aired yesterday and you can watch it here (In Spanish).
Eskerrik asko David!
Butternut Squash Risotto with Pistachios and Lemon
from Melissa Clark’s “Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can’t Wait to Make”
1/2 pound peeled butternut squash
about 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium leek, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 cups arborio rice
2 rosemary branches
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/3 cup dry white wine
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped salted pistachios
grated Parmesan cheese
In a food processor fitted with a fine grating attachment, shred the squash.
In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Melt the butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring them occasionally, until they are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook it until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice, squash, rosermary, and salt. Stir until most of the grains of rice appear semi-translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. This means they have absorbed some of he fat from the pan, which will help keep the grains separate from each other as they form their creamy sauce.
Pour the wine into the pan and let it cook off for about 2 minutes. Add a ladleful of stock (about 1/2 cup) and cook, stirring it constantly and making sure to scrape around the sides, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Continue adding stock, a ladleful at a time, and stirring almost constantly, until the risotto has turned creamy and thick, and the grains of rice are tender with a bit of bite, about 25 to 30 minutes. Pluck out the rosemary branch and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and black pepper. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice if needed. Garnish with the pistachios and optional cheese before serving.
Butternut Squash, Apple and Hazelnut Muffins
makes 15 muffins
1/2 small butternut squash puree, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 g) natural cane sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup (80 ml) coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (70 g) superfine brown rice flour
1/2 cup (70 g) quinoa flour
1/3 cup (45 g) hazelnut meal
3 tablespoons (20 g) tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Gala apple, peeled and diced into 1/8-inch pieces
1 ounce (30 g) chopped hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
Steam the diced squash until tender, about 10 minutes. Puree it in the food processor and measure 1/2 cup (115 g). Reserve the rest for another use.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the butternut squash puree, eggs, light brown sugar, natural cane sugar, coconut milk, coconut oil and vanilla extract.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the superfine brown rice flour, quinoa flour, hazelnut meal, tapioca starch, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and whisk to combine. Fold in the diced apples and hazelnuts.
Pour the batter into the muffin molds or baking cups and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.