September 17, 2009

Tahitian Squash Risotto and Foodbuzz Blog Awards

risotto 011When fall nears, I start to get excited. Not only because of the cool, crisp air (which I love), but because of the delicious fall produce. As much as I’ll miss my fresh tomatoes, (and here in a month or two, you may here me complain about the lack of good tomatoes…fair warning.) now it’s nearing time for one of my most favorite fall vegetables – winter squash. Most winter squashes are subtly sweet, creamy, and marry so well with a lot of comfort dishes. I love them all – pumpkins, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, and Tahitian. That’s right, Tahitian squash. I’d never heard of it, until a few weeks ago, when I was visiting the McKinney farmer’s market, and I visited my friend at Good Earth Organic Farm. He was selling not only butternut squashes, but he also had a large Tahitian squash available. I asked about it, mistaking it for a butternut. (they look VERY similar in color and shape) He described it to me as a nice, sweet squash that I could prepare in a similar manner to butternut. Needless to say, I was sold – and took that baby home with me.

What’s wonderful about winter squashes is that you don’t have to eat them right away. They can be stored for a long while. My Tahitian squash sat on my counter for a few weeks while I enjoyed my bounty of zucchini, okra, tomatoes, pears, and other summery produce, patiently waiting for its turn in the spotlight. On Sunday night, it was time for the Tahitian squash to shine. (Yes, Sunday…I know, it’s taken me a few days to get this to you!) A creamy risotto was just the right dish to highlight this sweet squash.

Contrary to what Hell’s Kitchen would portray, a risotto is not all that difficult to make. The big key here is to be stirring the risotto nearly constantly. (Perhaps one should plan to make it on a night when they are not the only one watching the kids…) But since you will be standing over the dish, you can “fiddle” with the dish as much as you like (something I have a desire to do with all dishes, whether they’re in need of “fiddling” or not). You also will be at the ready to test the doneness of the rice. Other than that, there’s nothing tricky about risotto – promise!

Tahitian (or butternut, or acorn, or pumpkin) Squash Risotto

2 T olive oil

5-6 lbs squash, such as butternut or acorn, peeled and diced

Salt and pepper

4-5 c chicken broth (can substitute vegetable broth to make vegetarian)

1 T olive oil

1 T butter

1 shallot, minced

1 ½ c Arborio rice

½ c white wine

½ c Parmesan, grated

2 T butter

¼ c parsley, chopped

Bring a heavy, large sauté pan to medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once oil is hot, add squash in a single layer. (you may have to do this in batches – I did.) Saute squash for 5-6 minutes or until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.

Reserving ½ c of the diced squash, puree the remainder in a food processor or blender.

Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a large saucepan, and hold at a simmer.

Either wipe clean the sauté pan, or bring another large, wide sauté pan to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Swirl until butter melts. Add shallots and rice and stir until shallots start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add white wine and stir, deglazing the pan. Once wine is nearly evaporated, add 1 ladle of chicken broth and stir into rice. Stir almost constantly to ensure that each grain of rice is cooked evenly. Once broth is nearly evaporated, add another ladle of broth. Continue adding broth, a ladle at a time, as the broth evaporates from the pan, and stirring continuously, until the rice is nearly done, just shy of al dente.

Add the pureed squash, and add more broth as necessary. (Your finished risotto should not be sticky/gluey and clumpy, nor should it be thin. You’re striving for a creamy consistency here.) Stir until the rice is al dente. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and parmesan. Stir until butter melts and cheese is incorporated. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. Remove from heat, and top with reserved diced squash and sprinkle with parsley for garnish.

Serves 6.

Wait, there’s more – Foodbuzz Blog Awards

I’m sure you have heard about Foodbuzz.com several times by now. I am a Featured Publisher on their site, the advertisements on this blog are from Foodbuzz, and I’ve participated in their 24,24,24 events (see Exploring Texas BBQ and Bringing the Bayou to the ‘Burbs). Well, Foodbuzz has officially announced the Foodbuzz Blog Awards. The Foodbuzz Blog Awards aim to recognize talent in the blog community through nominations and voting. So please, if you enjoy my blog, nominate me! (yes, this is my shameless plug) Nominations are open from September 14 – 30. The categories for nomination are:

Best Overall Blog
Best New Blog
Best Wine Blog
Best Cocktail/Spirits Blog
Best Baking Blog
Best Food Photography Blog
Best Visual Blog (graphic design)
Best Writing Voice
Best Healthy Living Blog
Best Green/Sustainable blog
Best Family Blog
Best Recipe Blog
Best Blogger Humanitarian Effort
Best Community Blog Effort (recognizing blogging groups/challenges/etc)
Most Humorous Food Blog

Blogger you’d most want to:
-Take to dinner
-Cook a meal for you
-Be your personal Sommelier
-Create you a cocktail
-Watch on Food Network
-Watch on Iron Chef
-See open up their own restaurant
-See their blog made into a movie

So please, take a moment and nominate as many blogs as you feel deserve recognition! And thank you!

26 Responses to “Tahitian Squash Risotto and Foodbuzz Blog Awards”

  1. I love risotto. Any kind of risotto is always welcome. And I also love butternut squash. But I never tried a Tahitian squash. I could only find pumpkin from where I live but I heard that butternut squash is now grown in the Philippines. I just have to look for them. I kinda enjoy doing the risotto. It’s somewhat therapeutic. Thanks for the introduction of the Tahitian squash. Who knows, it could be available here.

  2. I LOVE the look of this dish! You are so right about risottos – I was terrified the first time I made one, and probably, as you say, because of Hell’s Kitchen. It’s definitely easier than you think, but then you feel like you’ve made something gourmet. Yours looks perfect!

  3. This risotto is perfect for Fall! Plus the color is beautiful:)

  4. Ok, if I have to accept the fact that it’s fall, this looks like the way to do it. I better distract myself with squash and apple picking so that I don’t think about the fact that winter is right around the corner…

  5. Oh wow, that risotto looks AMAZING! YUM!!!!

  6. That looks SOOOO good!!!

  7. What a beautiful risotto. I have to make one again… I also have to start on my fall dishes – squash is such a nice fall vegetable…

  8. Wow, what a perfectly delicious risotto! I would love to get a Tahitian squash and cook with it, how neat!

  9. Wow- you’re right…we are on the same wavelength. HOWEVER…your picture kicks my pictures ass.

    I’m so sad. We’d been borrowing a friend’s SLR and now I’m back to my sad, sad point-and-shoot. What a bummer!

    Nice recipe! :)

    • Carli – Aww, thanks! Actually, I still use a sad, annoyingly stupid point-and-shoot. Want an SLR, gotta save up money. Or hope that Santa will bring me one. What SLR did you borrow? Did you like it?

      Natasha, Andrea, Jen, Gina, katie, nutmegnanny, Divina – Thank you!

      Tasty Trix – I was so impressed with myself the first time I made one too, as if I’d made something uber-gourmet. It’s funny when I think about it! Thank you.

  10. Looks very delicious! I love risottos, and will be on the lookout for this squash.

  11. Yesssssssssss fall is HERE! Can’t wait for October to hit because then it will be officially official. Risotto for everyone. :)

  12. what a perfect fall dish!

  13. I love risotto. I’m totally in denial that my summer produce is coming to an end.

  14. The picture makes my mouth water….prefer butter squash to pumpkin..

    Angie’s Recipes

  15. That is just gorgeous! What a great combination, I love squash and risotto.

  16. wow! that photo reminds me of a sunset on a cool fall evening, very beautiful and flavorsome

  17. Sweet and creamy squash risotto is always good!

    • Kevin, Meatless Mama, rebecca, Angie – Thanks!

      Jessie – Wow what a poetic way to describe it!

      Angie’s Recipes – I prefer butternut to pumpkin too, but it’s all good with me!

      My Man’s Belly – I’m totally the opposite. :)

      Duodishes – I agree!

  18. Although I’ve never tried Tahitian squash (that’s definitely something I’ll be on the lookout for in the future!), I’m a big fan of squash risotto. And this version looks divine.

    Loving your blog… am amazed it took me so long to make it over here!

  19. Wonderful combination of flavors and color, thanks for sharing!

  20. Oops…sorry, the previous post has the wrong link, try again.
    Wonderful combination of flavors and color, thanks for sharing!
    Thanks again!

  21. This colorful dish is one we all love here at home…the sweet squash and salty bite of the parmesan are a perfect match.

    • Debi – Thanks! I love the sweet/salty combo! In this dish it’s subtle, but to me, that’s what makes it comforting. Nothing’s too in-your-face.

  22. Pingback: Daring Cooks: Risotto and Homemade Chicken Stock « Tasty Eats At Home

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