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Friday, October 21, 2011

Risotto, anyone?

Last week I accidentally parked in the executive parking lot at work.

I was on my way back from lunch, running late for a meeting and the only lot I could get into(without driving back down the road and going a mile out of my way to get into a building I was sitting right next to) was a super tiny lot about 20 feet from the side entrance.

As soon as I pulled into the lot I felt that something was amiss. For one thing, this lot is wayyyy more convenient to the building than the larger lot. For another, every car was either a BMW, an Audi or an unnecessarily large SUV. I sensed that I did not belong...but I was running late for a meeting so I just parked and walked into the building like yes, of course my 11-year-old VW is supposed to be parked next to all these shiny cars.

It should also be noted that the first time I met our CEO in person was in the bathroom. And my sweater was buttoned incorrectly. I am a shining example for my workplace, truly.

Anyways, later that day after guiltily sneaking out of the VIP lot, I attempted to make dinner for my parents while Ben was at parent-teacher conferences. It was a near-disaster on several levels. First, I decided for some reason to make risotto with brown rice, which evidently takes about a gajillion hours.


I had trouble getting a photo that really does this plate justice - just trust me. It tastes amazing.

Second, instructing my parents to "relax on the couch while I cook" was a futile endeavor. Instead of just kicking back on the couch with my dad, my mom engaged in the following activities:
- going through my mail and demanding to know why I hadn't opened/mailed certain things
- repeadedly instructing me to put a lid on the rice while it cooked ("No mom...that's not how you cook Risotto)
- putting the lid on herself when I did not do so
- watching Sidney like a hawk to make sure he didn't suddenly become a rabid zombie wolf beast (at least, I assume that's why she was watching him...I can think of no other reason to observe an animal that closely and with that much trepidation)

I love my mom... and I know moms never stop mothering, especially when they are bored and in their child's home and dinner is taking forever because their daughter foolishly decided to experiment with new rice varieties. So if there's one lesson I learned from this it is: always use Arborio rice for Risotto when your parents are over. Always. (But even if you use brown rice it will still be delicious, and you will still garner rave reviews from the parentals).

Luckily, my other family members are very good at entertaining themselves...


Mini & Sidney

- Approx 3 lb Butternut Squash
- 1/2 cup white wine
- About 6 cups chicken or veg broth
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 T Olive Oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1.5 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmasean cheese
- 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
- 2 c fresh baby spinach or mixed greens

Preheat your oven to 450. Cut the squash into several large sections and de-seed. Place sections face-down on a baking pan or sheet and roast until cooked through (about 40 minutes), flipping each section halfway through cooking. Wait until the squash is cool enough to touch without burning yourself, then remove the flesh (patience!) and cut into 1" cubes.

Cook the onion in a heavy pot over medium heat, stirring frequently, until soft and semi-translucent. Add rice, garlic and cumin and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in the white wine and cook until absorbed and evaporated. Continue simmering and adding broth 1/3-1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Wait until each addition is absorbed before adding the next. Continue cooking until the risotto is creamy but not mushy (you may have leftover broth).

Stir in the squash pieces, sage and parmasean and stir until cheese is melted. Serve. Eat. Delicious.

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