Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Risotto

I admit it, I'm in love....with Pears. I can't get enough of this wonderful fruit. Where have you been all my life? It's another food that I thought was just good to eat all by itself. Little did I know that hiding beneath the luscious skin was this delectable fruit with an even better texture. Add this little jem to a salad and POW! Add it  to roasted butternut squash and risotto and you have a dish that will blow you away. 

Ask my family and friends and they will tell you I'm a big texture nut. That goes along with my love of books and being very tactile. If the book doesn't feel good in my hands forget about it. I had to change that when my carpal tunnel flared up and I purchased a NOOK because I can no longer hold large books for long periods of time. I digress. Example. I like raisins but put them in any food and it's enough to make me throw up. It's the texture. However, with pears it's a whole other story. 

Tonight was a spur of the moment dinner. I picked up a friend and we decided to go to The Good Earth for dinner. I was going to help her prepare for a job interview tomorrow. She had a wonderful bowl of gluten-dairy free bean soup and I had the roasted butternut squash pear risotto. It came out and it was gorgeous. Good size chunks of butternut squash with fresh spinach, onions, cubed pears, goat cheese and pecans. All mixed in to this delicious Arborio rice. Everything was in perfect harmony. 

I came home and promptly looked online for a recipe. I found one, although it is not exactly like what I ate tonight but it can be modified. I have yet to make it but I will post the recipe I found tonight. 

My changes:
  • Add spinach
  • Change the stock to vegetable
  • Change the cheese to goats cheese
  • Add pecans
  • Omit the wine
  • I don't think mine had garlic in it either

Here's the recipe I found online:

Roasted Winter Squash and Pear Risotto
- Chef Richard Julien

Pasta loses favour as you cross over from the rolling hills of central Tuscany and Umbria to the northern provinces of Piedmont, Lombardy and Veneto. Here rice is the staple starch and specifically the high-starch short grain varieties known as Carnaroli, Vialone Nano and Arborio. All three varieties provide risotto with its rich, creamy texture and flavor.


2½ cups (750 ml) of half-inch (1.25 cm) cubed butternut squash pieces
5 tablespoons (75 ml) olive oil - divided
1 pear, diced
1 cup (250 ml) Carnaroli or Arborio rice
4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
½ cup (125 ml) white wine
3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh sage, chopped
½ cup (125 ml) parmesan, grated
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) all-spice
Pinch salt
Pinch pepper

Preparation Method:

1. Cube the butternut squash and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle the squash with 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Place the squash in an oven preheated to 400ºF (204ºC). Roast for 30 minutes.
3. After the squash has finished roasting (can be pierced easily with a toothpick or skewer), remove it from the oven and set aside.
4. Place the chicken stock in a pot over a medium-low heat.
5. Place a separate pot over medium-low heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil. Add the onion to the pot with the olive oil and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant (approximately 30 seconds).
6. Add rice and sauté. Ensure grains are evenly covered with the olive oil.
7. Increase the heat to medium and add the white wine. When the rice fully absorbs the white wine, add a ladle of the warm stock. When the rice has fully absorbed the liquid, add another ladle of stock. Repeat continually until the stock is finished.
8. Add parmesan, pear, squash and sage. Stir until well incorporated.
9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Servings: 4-6

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