Squash and Beet Risotto
Yep – winter is here and I’m already ready for spring. Temperatures have been unusually cold, dipping in to single digits when wind chill is included which is just way too cold for mid-November. However this is the perfect time to just stay in the kitchen and experiment with new-to-me ingredients and all sorts of flavor profiles. Or throw a bunch of random vegetables in to a dish and see what happens – which is what happened here. I had a bit of delicata squash left, along with two candy-stripped beets, and half a vidalia onion. So I went for a random grain, in this case arborio rice, and started chopping!
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock, low sodium
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup milk
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup delicata squash, peeled and chopped (reserve any seeds)
1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 small beets, peeled and sliced
salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a 2qt sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 7 minutes, or until the garlic starts to turn golden.
- Meanwhile heat the vegetable stock in a small pot over medium heat, ideally should be at a strong simmer but not boiling.
- Add the rice to the garlic onion mixture, stir well, and then add the white wine and milk. Allow rice to soak up the milk and wine, stirring to prevent sticking. Once the liquid has been absorbed, add the vegetable stock in 1/2 cup increments, allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding more. After adding 2 cups, add the chopped squash along with a 1/2 cup of liquid.
- In a small saute pan, heat up the remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the fresh herbs and cook for 1 minute before adding the beet slices. Cook for 10 minutes, turning occasionally to prevent them from burning.
- The risotto is ready when it no longer absorbs any liquid. Remove from heat and stir for about 3 minutes, then fold in the beet slices. Serve and enjoy!
When using a diary free milk, make sure to grab plain/unsweetened for this dish.
In order to avoid a pink blob, I held off on adding the beets until the last possible moment. Not only did this ensure they were super crispy, but it also gave the squash an opportunity to shine on its own. In the future I would most likely going for a strong squash, acorn perhaps, but there is something to be said about the subtle taste of delicata. I enjoyed my risotto topped with a bit of pepper, while Joe was more traditional and went for the Parmesan cheese.