Party Recipes

Last night I hosted my first Gluten Free/Meat Free/Dairy Free dinner party in honor of my mom’s birthday.  It was a beautiful night!  And now it’s time to share the recipes, starting with…

…Butternut Squash Risotto (Vegan & Gluten Free)

My dad said this tasted like super fancy mac and cheese.  Without the mac.  Or the cheese.  But totally delicious.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup Arborio Rice (Only use Arborio- no other rice will do!)
  • 1 medium sized butternut squash, cooked and puréed.  You can also save some pieces to chop up to give the risotto texture.  Don’t bother peeling the squash before you cook it.  Follow my method instead and it will come off so much easier and reduce the risk of hacking of your finger by about, oh, 1,000,000%
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup water mixed with 30 oz. vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup (or more) veggie add-ins: I like shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, corn, zucchini, spinach- just mix in whatever sounds good to you!
  • A few drops white truffle oil, to taste (This is my secret ingredient.  Your life. Will. Change.) Coarse salt and pepper, and any herb you might like to add.  I imagine parsley or sage be tasty.
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Cut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and gooey innards, and place pieces face down on a baking sheet.  Let roast until you can easily slide a fork through the flesh (about 40 minutes).  Once the squash has cooled, the peel will slide right off.  You can also scoop the flesh right out of the skin, so you end up wasting hardly anything!
  3. In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan add olive oil and onions and cook for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat.
  4. Add rice and wine, making sure all the rice is evenly coated.  Cook for about 2 minutes, until half of the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and start adding the broth, working in ½ cup increments.  Keep an eye on the pot, adding broth once liquid is almost absorbed.
  6. Add veggie mix ins, ½ cup butternut squash purée, and salt (to taste).
  7. Keep cooking, stirring, and adding broth and purée until your arms are tired and the rice is thoroughly cooked.  Add some truffle oil while it’s cooking to make your kitchen smell awesome and everyone in your house hungry.
  8. Once ready to serve, garnish with a few more drops of truffle oil, herbs and salt to garnish.  Serve warm and eat with a smile.

This recipe can be easily doubled, which I recommend because leftovers taste even better the day after!

Cooking takes a lot of monitering and making it up as you go along.  I think I followed a recipe for the first two minutes and then completely improvised the rest.  So follow your instincts: if it seems to dry, add more purée, if it’s too soggy, let it sit for a while.  If you want more wine, add it!  If you want portabellas instead of shiitakes, go for it!  This recipe is more of a guide than anything else, so trust your tastebuds and have fun experimenting!  Fortunately the flavor is delicious no matter what so you really can’t go wrong.

And if you’re curious about the health benefits of butternut squash, here’s a nice link to read while you’re cooking dinner :)  Enjoy your risotto and all the yummy vitamin A, fiber, and anti-inflammatory properties.

PS: Stay tuned for more recipes from last night!

(Photo via Giuliano Hazan, who I had never heard of until today and almost shares my name.  Crazy.)

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