A few rice must-dos, wine maybe, and wow! squash risotto

By Sandy Oliver Special to the News, Special to the BDN
Posted Jan. 16, 2009, at 7:24 p.m.

It is silly, I suppose, but I am a little shy about making risotto so I thought it was time to get over it. Risotto is that trendy Italian rice dish that you can add vegetables, seafood or chicken to. Sometimes recipes for it make it sound very involved and fussy, but I remember one time visiting my friend Nancy Jenkins in Camden and she threw together risotto for lunch. I was just standing around watching, and when it finally occurred to me what she was making, I thought, “Wow, that’s easy.”

There are only a few must-dos, and they are no big whoop. You do have to use the short grain Arborio rice. You have to toast it in the oil before adding liquid. You do have to keep hot water or broth boiling away to add gradually while cooking the rice. You can’t put all the liquid in at one time and waltz off somewhere for 20 minutes, but neither do you have to hover over it every minute.

Nancy says the wine gives it a nice bit of fruitiness, but if you wish, you can omit it. She also says that after you have added the last bit of stock and it has cooked in, take the pan off the heat and let it rest for five minutes.

As I promised back in the fall, here is another thing to do with winter-stored squash. I used butternut, but you could use Blue Hubbard or a similar finely textured bright orange squash. One recipe I looked at suggested roasting the squash in a very hot oven, but I didn’t want to heat the oven just for this so I sautéed the squash in oil on top of the stove.

I found I could add hot liquid, stir it in, then go tear up lettuce for the salad, come back, add more liquid, stir, set the table, and so on. Just be aware of it, and don’t let it get all stuck on the pan.

Send queries or answers to Sandy Oliver, 1061 Main Road, Islesboro 04848. E-mail: tastebuds@prexar.com.

Looking for … crabmeat quiche. Connie MacDuffie in Newburgh wrote and said, “I’m looking for a recipe for Crab Quiche and have had no luck in my cookbooks. Do you have such a recipe? I’ve eaten it before at a restaurant in Belfast a long time ago, and it was superb!” I’ll bet anything one of you makes this all the time. Or at least you have a recipe.

Squash Risotto

Makes 6 servings.

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

1 pound of squash cut into half-inch dice

1½ cups Arborio rice

½ cup of white wine

6-8 cups of boiling hot vegetable or chicken stock

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Parsley optional

Salt and pepper

Put the oil, onion, and garlic into a heavy, wide-bottomed saucepan. Sauté until the onion begins to look translucent. Add the squash and cook until it just begins to soften. Add more oil if needed. Add the rice and cook for a couple minutes. Then add the wine and when it has cooked away, begin to add the stock, stirring in a ladle full at a time and cooking until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Stir as needed to keep it from sticking. Add more liquid and repeat the stirring and cooking until the rice is just al dente. Add the Parmesan, or put it on the table for people to add to their own servings. Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Take risotto off the heat, put a lid on the pot and let it rest for five minutes while you put the rest of the dinner on the table.

Looking for … crabmeat quiche. Connie MacDuffie in Newburgh wrote and said, “I’m looking for a recipe for Crab Quiche and have had no luck in my cookbooks. Do you have such a recipe? I’ve eaten it before at a restaurant in Belfast a long time ago, and it was superb!” I’ll bet anything one of you makes this all the time. Or at least you have a recipe.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/01/16/living/a-few-rice-mustdos-wine-maybe-and-wow-squash-risotto/ printed on September 18, 2014