Friday, 22 June 2012

(Mostly) Dairy Free, Butternut Squash Risotto

1. ingredients 2. saute 3. vino 4. evaporate and add more liquid 5. squash 6. "hippy butter" 7. parmesan 8. eat

From my early 20's on, my body has rejected various major food groups, one after the other. It's a bit frustrating at times as I do so love to eat. Luckily, I also love to cook and thanks to a stepmom who rarely follows a recipe true to form, I have inherited a flair for improvisational cooking. So while it can be pretty frustrating trying to find a restaurant that can meet all my dietary needs in a non-salad sort of way, I have things pretty nailed down at home. While not Italian myself, I hail from a region full of wonderful Italian-Canadians and all the AMAZING food their culture brings with them. What's a girl who isn't supposed to eat dairy or pasta to do? Enter risotto. While some versions of risotto are full of cream and butter, my version is light on lactose yet still high on flavour--intrigued? 
(I rarely stay true to recipes, but I have tried to approximate amounts)

  • 2 c.diced butternut squash (acorn works as well)
  • 1/2 c. minced shallots or onion
  • olive oil (enough to saute the rice and shallots)
  • 2 c. arborio rice (risotto rice)
  • 1 c. white wine
  • 6 c. chicken broth (you may need more...)
  • 1 tbsp. margarine or "hippy butter" (aka Earth Balance soy free dairy free "spread")
  • parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
  • parsley (optional but I like the colour)
  • salt and pepper
1. Saute rice and shallots in oil until golden and begin heating broth in a separate pot. 2. Add wine and begin stirring.* 3. Once the wine evaporates, add the squash and a ladle or two of chicken broth. 4. Continue stirring until the broth evaporates and then add more broth. continue adding broth and stirring until rice is cooked (THIS TAKES FOREVER... or so it feels when you are hungry!). 5. Once the rice is nearly done (it gets a certain porridgy look--just try a grain if you are unsure), add the margarine and keep stirring :) 6. Add parmesan and or nutritional yeast to taste ( I do both because while I can handle a bit of parmesan, I don't want to push it. I have made this with only nutritional yeast and it still tasted pretty great). 7. Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste. 8. Eat! 

* risotto is a bit of a commitment. While very simple, it is the slow cooking and constant stirring that make risotto so fabulously and delightfully creamy

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