Posts tagged ‘risotto’

Autumn cup squash (risotto + soup)

Autumn cup – isn’t that a perfect name for a squash? Also known as buttercup, kabocha or turban squash, it tastes similar to butternut squash, but with a smoother, sweeter, and in my opinion, more delicious flavour. Dark green on the outside, bright yellowy-orange flesh inside – it is as gorgeous thing to look at as it is to eat.

Here are two recipes that will take you through one squash: a risotto flavoured with kale, caramelized onions, and fresh chives, and a soup made from roasted squash, ginger, and paprika. Warm and yum!

Autumn Cup Squash Risotto (inspired by the Acorn Squash Risotto in my favourite Italian cookbook, Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano)

Serves 6

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/2 of a autumn cup / kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
1-1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated*
1 cup kale, finely chopped
1 small bunch of chives, finely minced (about 1/4 cup)
fresh ground pepper

This first, all-important step is so often missing from risotto recipes: Put a chair/stool beside the stove, turn on the music, pour a glass of wine and bring a book. You have an hour of occasional stirring in front of you.

In a large saute pan (large!), cook onions in oil over low-medium heat – let them turn brown slowly so they caramelize. Then add the squash and stir until it softens and starts to break down. Add in arborio rice and cook it for a few minutes so it toasts, and then add in the wine. Have the vegetable stock warming in a pot beside your risotto pan. Add a couple of ladle-fuls of stock to the risotto and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until you’ve used up all the stock. Stir in the cheese, kale, and chives, and sprinkle with pepper. I made this recently and served it with a spinach, pear and walnut salad and that was a nice match.

*Vegans, omit the cheese.

Autumn Cup Squash Soup
If you make the risotto above, you’ll be left with half a squash – the perfect amount for a pot of soup that provides a generous serving for two people. Cut the squash into wedges, toss with olive oil and cracked pepper and roast it in the oven until soft. Blend with water or vegetable stock, season with ginger and paprika and you’ll have a cozy lunch.

October 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm 1 comment

Araxi

I’ve wanted to try Araxi restaurant in Whistler since we moved to Vancouver and we visited it recently during a long-weekend getaway for our friends’ wedding and my birthday. I’d heard lots of great things about Araxi, and I was also familiar with it due to the many hours I’ve wasted watching Hell’s Kitchen on TV (a chef job at Araxi was the big prize a couple of seasons ago). The restaurant is located in the heart of Whistler Village and focuses on innovative regional cuisine.  It was full the night we ate there with a mix of Canadian and international guests, and also a surprising number of kids – the little American boy at the table next to ours somehow convinced his parents to let him order the market-price crab legs, which must have cost a pretty penny!

I was really impressed with Araxi. Thanks to my husband’s job in the wine industry we have the privilege of trying a lot of good restaurants in many different places, and I thought Araxi delivered on the hype. The service was great; the atmosphere was relaxed and upscale in a way that felt very Whistler; and the food showcased Pacific Northwest regionality with local ingredients brought together in an innovative way that reflects the confluence of Canadian, Asian and European culture and cuisine that is unique to this area of the world.  It was also refreshing to eat at a fine-dining restaurant where the menu is not dominated by meat. Lots of fresh, Oceanwise-certified fish, good vegetarian options and I loved the raw bar with its focus on sushi and sashimi-inspired dishes.

Araxi chefs at work assembling food from the Raw Bar menu.

Fresh bread hot from the oven served with a Tuscan bean spread, olive oil and sea salt

We had champagne with dinner – a special birthday treat.

Seared tuna with micro-greens and ponzu pearls

Roasted Pemberton beets with blue cheese, spiced pecans, pink lady apple and rosemary vinaigrette, frisee and baby sorrel

Wild mushroom risotto with grilled prawns

No dessert was required after all that!

February 26, 2011 at 10:43 pm 1 comment

Risotto torte

risotto torteThis is a recipe from “New Vegetarian,” by Celia Brooks Brown. It’s an excellent book, and this is recipe has quickly become a favourite in our house. It’s vegetarian, gluten-free, easy, a bit fancy and so tasty! We have a gorgeous, brightly-coloured serving plate that was given to me as a house-warming gift several years ago by one of my stylish uncles (I’m fortunate enough to have several!) and I love it for this dish. (more…)

November 14, 2009 at 2:14 pm 1 comment

Asparagus Risotto

asparagus

Asparagus risotto is one of my favorite things to make for a simple but special supper at home with family and friends. We’ve been making an effort to buy more local seasonal produce, so the only reason I’m cooking with asparagus is because I’d stashed a bunch in the back of our freezer after buying too much produce at the farmer’s market last summer (amazingly it still tasted great!).

Asparagus will be back in season in a few short months – spring is the time to find it fresh and locally grown. I’ve been thinking about planting some asparagus crowns in my own garden, which apparently fare well (as long as you’re patient) in our chilly Zone 3 climate. (more…)

February 6, 2009 at 11:12 pm Leave a comment


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