Spelt Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash

Spelt Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash

My dinner options for Wednesday were very slim. I had already used the “egg” option on Tuesday night with Mini Goat Cheese, Bacon and Leek Quiches. I was contemplating the grilled cheese cop-out since I need to be out the door and on the ice for 7pm.

This box of Spelt grains in my cupboard was calling to me for sometime. I have never cooked Spelt or even made a Spelt Risotto. I did know that the grains could be cooked in the same method of risotto.

I had all the ingredients for a risotto and decided to tackle it in the short time frame.

I love cooking Risotto. And I think I have pretty much mastered the process. 😉 Risotto is a great change-up from rice or pasta.

I found that the Spelt grains were much more forgiving than Arborio rice. I could actually walk away from the stove which is something you shouldn’t do. And I used a little more stock than when I cook a regular risotto. I tasted the texture of the spelt  a lot through the last part of the cooking process.

If I had planned better I would have used sage instead of the herbs listed in the recipe below; it tasted fantastic with that combination. It was a hit with the family. And an awesome vegetarian option especially since it is high in protein.

I recently hosted a birthday dinner for my friend Emma. The Menu’s theme for the Dinner Party was Spring even though the weather was NOT. I made an awesome Risotto with Roasted Shrimp, Peas and Edamame.

Birthday Dinner Pictures below:

Appetizer: Marinated Salmon Rollup

Appetizer: Marinated Salmon Roll-up

Appetizer: Brie, Figs and Pear

Appetizer: Brie, Figs and Pear

Asparagus Salad

Asparagus Salad

Risotto with Shrimp, Peas, and Edamame

Risotto with Shrimp, Peas, and Edamame

Dessert: Homemade Lemon Sorbet with Maple Syrup Blueberries

Dessert: Homemade Lemon Sorbet with Maple Syrup Blueberries

Always check out my Instagram @the5oclockrush  to see my daily dinners photos.

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“Sprinter” Vegetarian Chili for Meatless Mondays

It is the end of April and today’s weather is not Spring-like. Since this weather has been dragging, a friend of mine called it “sprinter” (spring/winter) LOL!

On Mondays, I try to cook a “meatless” dinner whenever possible. After sorting through my pantry and fridge, I decided to make vegetarian chili. And for that friend SL, I’m calling it “Sprinter” Chili 😉

“Sprinter” Vegetarian Chili for Meatless Mondays

approx. 6-8 servings
Homemade Vegetarian Chili

Homemade Vegetarian Chili

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The Recipe for a Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto garnished with saute cremini mushrooms, toasted pinenuts and finely chopped sage leaves.

Butternut Squash Risotto garnished with saute cremini mushrooms, toasted pinenuts and finely chopped sage leaves.

Risotto is a dish that is easy to prepare and it really is about developing the technique.  The rice is cooked briefly in a soffritto of onion and olive oil this is to coat each grain in fat. I added finely chopped fennel or finocchio , garlic and shallots to my soffritto.  Once the onions are translucent and the rice is toasted add a cup or more of white wine to be absorbed by the rice.  You can turned the heat up to a medium high heat and gradually add a couple ladles of very hot stock. I used a low sodium vegetable stock. The process of making risotto is to gradually add the stock in small amounts while stirring gently, almost constantly. This develops the starch and creates that smooth creamy textured liquid. I account that the completed risotto should be 18-20 minutes.  So in the remaining minutes, I added the roasted butternut squash then it is finished with a finely grated cheese either Parmesan or a Pecorino Romano. I prefer the Romano. Some cooks will add small pats of cubed butter but I feel that if you have cooked the risotto properly you will not need this to create creamy texture. Make sure adjust the flavour with salt and pepper.  The risotto will be rich and creamy but still with some resistance or bite: al dente, and with separate grains.  I garnished my finished Butternut Squash Risotto with saute cremini mushrooms, toasted pinenuts and finely chopped sage.

3 cups of roasted butternut squash, cubed

3 tbsp. of olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1/4 cup of fennel, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely minced

1 clove of garlic, finely minced

1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice

1 cup of white wine

7 1/2 – 8 cups of low sodium vegetable stock

1/4 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

season with salt and white pepper

garnish with saute cremini mushrooms, toasted pinenuts and finely chopped sage

Makes approx. 6 servings

Enjoy! 🙂