Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Case of Merry Christmas and Butternut Squash Risotto

A 4-D puzzle of the Toronto cityscape and a Star Wars origami book in a toy store Christmas flyer! I bent down the corner of those two pages and made sure to clip the coupon offering a ten-dollar gift card with purchase of $50 or more. I also noted there was free gift wrap.

The store is about an hour's drive south from Black Currant Bay and on the weekend Karl and I decided to make the trip on behalf of the Black Currant Bay Regional Toy Drive. Surprisingly the store wasn't too crowded when we arrived. We proceeded to look around the large-surface store for the two items.

Darn if we didn't come up empty. Not to be discouraged, I asked a store clerk for assistance. She in turn brought in her manager. The very helpful manager listened carefully to me explain myself again as I pointed to the items I'd marked in their flyer and then I trotted along behind him as he went to the area where he thought one of the potential gifts might be hiding. Still, he seemed doubtful. In the end, he didn't find it either. He peered at the flyer, flipped a few pages. And then his face cleared.

"We might not have these items," he said.

"Oh?" I said. This seemed odd to me.

"Yes, this flyer isn't for our store."

Happy holidays everyone!

Butternut Squash Risotto

1/6 cup grated Parmesan (plus a wedge of Parmesan from which to make decorative ribbons)
2 cups butternut squash, chopped
2 cups boiling water
2 rounded tsps (for 2 cups) vegetable bouillon powder
1 shallot, minced
2 tsps butter
1 tsp olive oil
2/3 cup Arborio rice
1/6 cup white wine
Take the Parmesan out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.

Boil the butternut squash with a pinch of salt, in enough water to cover, for 15 min. or until tender. Drain and mash.

Prepare a bouillon with the 2 cups boiling water and vegetable bouillon powder.

In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the shallots in the butter and olive oil for 2 min. Add the rice and sauté for 5 min. Add the white wine and stir until it's nearly absorbed. Add the squash and 1/3 cup of the bouillon and stir and continue to simmer until liquid is nearly absorbed. Continue adding 1/3 cupfuls of the bouillon and stirring for 25 min. or until the rice is creamy and firm but not hard (you will need to add 1/3 cupfuls of water toward the end).

Swirl in the grated Parmesan. Salt to taste.

Plate. Garnish with ribbons of Parmesan made with a vegetable peeler and grate pepper on top.

Serves 2.