Butternut Squash, Sage and Shiitake Risotto with Chard, Raisins and Toasted Pine Nuts
Tonight's menu was another challenge induced by random things around the kitchen, including leftovers. For one of the items, I received a nice package from my Aunt that contained among other things, raisins that my uncle made at home, so I figured those had to be in there. There were also some shiitake and enoki mushrooms lingering in the crisper. Lastly, I was looking for a way to repurpose the leftover butternut squash gratin and risotto came to mind as a perfect fit. It still being vegetarian week (fortunately, it's almost over - I'm looking in your direction, Jimmy), I set out to create two dishes that would be a blend of savory and sweet.
Butternut Squash, Sage and Shiitake Risotto
- 1 white onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- 1 c. dry white wine
- 4 c. vegetable broth
- 6 sage leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 c. arborio rice
- 12 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced in 1/4 in. strips
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. parmigiano reggiano, grated
- 2 tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
- 1 oz. Enoki mushrooms
- leftover butternut squash gratin
- Heat broth in a pot over low heat until just boiling. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. each olive oil and butter to a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, carrot and celery and saute another 8 minutes until soft and color begins to brighten.
- Add arborio rice to sautÃ©ed vegetables. Cook 2 minutes. Add white wine and stir until absorbed.
- Begin adding hot broth in to pot 1/2 c. at a time, stirring each time until it is absorbed by the rice. Continue adding broth 1/2 c. at a time until the arborio is cooked al dente, which should take about 20 minutes. The key to good risotto is the constant stirring, so put your arms into it and skip the gym tomorrow.
- While all of that is going on, place another skillet on the crowded stove over high heat. Add the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil. When oil is just about smoking, toss in shiitake and cook for 2 minutes until oil is absorbed. Turn heat down to medium and add shallots, remaining 1 tbsp. butter and thyme. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, while not forgetting to keep adding broth and stirring the risotto. Remove the mushrooms from heat.
- When the risotto is nearly done, after about 15 minutes, add the butternut squash gratin, sage leaves and all but a bit of the shiitake mixture, reserving the rest to garnish. Continue until risotto has reached perfect doneness and season with salt and pepper.
- Now the fun - plating. I like to use a small ring mold for extra presentation points, placing the mold on the plate and adding risotto until I end up with a nice cylinder of risotto. If you're feeling exhausted after all the stirring, just throw it on a plate. Top each plate with some of the remaining shiitake mixture, parmigiano reggiano, parsley and enoki mushrooms.
Chard with Raisins and Toasted Pine Nuts
- 1 bunch chard (either rainbow or red)
- 1/2 c. pine nuts
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1/4 c. raisins
- 1/2 c. vegetable broth
- Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees. When up to temperature, place pine nuts on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Place in the over to toast for 8-10 minutes, until slightly brown. Remove from oven, reserve.
- While the pine nuts are toasting, separate the chard leaves from the stems and chop both coarsely.
- Cook onion with 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Add chard stems and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add 1/4 c. vegetable broth, raisins and cover, cooking another 3 minutes. Add chard leaves and cook partially covered for another 3 minutes. Mix in half the pine nuts, season with salt and pepper and serve sprinkled with remaining pine nuts.