Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Butternut Squash Risotto

I had a moment with my food the other day.  You know the kind, right?  When you are like, This is what it is all about!  Yeah, that was me just a day or two back...

It all started with a drive through the Californian Central Valley.  Now, since I know you all are not Californians yourself, this might mean nothing to you.  So let me throw down some fun facts about California and our great valley in the middle:

  • We have four main regions in California: the beach (to the West), mountains (to the East and some other places), dessert (in the southeast part of the state) and the Central Valley, right down the middle. (Can you tell I am a teacher of California history yet?  Ha!)
  • The Central Valley produces half of the fruit and nuts consumed by Americans and one fourth of the vegetables.
  • All of this food is grown on 1% of the farmland in America, showing how incredibly fertile the soil is.
  • Chances are if you grab any of these, they came from California: tomatoes, almonds, grapes, apricots, or asparagus.
  • Actually, 70% of the entire world's almond supply comes from right here.
// source //

So, as I was saying, it all started with a drive through the Central Valley.  Driving on down the back roads en route to our destination we passed fruit stand after fruit stand.  I wanted to stop so badly, yet I didn't have any cash on me so I figured I would just have to pass this moment by.  Until we drove past a large barn-like store.  Figuring they would accept a card, we flipped-a-U and headed on over. 

Strawberries, red cherries, yellow cherries, blueberries, apples, peaches, plums... so much to choose from!  But then in the corner I spotted some butternut squash, at 68 cents a pound.  

I love butternut squash.  Love.

I know it's a winter veggie (well, technically fruit, but ya know what I mean...) and I am not sure how it wound up on that shelf in 80 degree weather, at the end of May.  But it was there, the price was more-that-right, and I scooped it up, know exactly what I wanted to make with it: risotto.

Back on Valentine's Day this year I tried a butternut squash risotto recipe.  And it was... OK.  That's it.  Well, maybe OK-to-good, but it left a lot to desire.  This time I had the challenge to find the recipe.  The one that would be worthy of my out-of-season find.

Thank you to Lindsay at Love and Olive Oil for creating the perfect recipe.  Standing there in my kitchen, surrounded by freshly toasted pine nuts, a balsamic glaze I made, fried sage leaves, and a roasted butternut squash ready to be pureed and turn into risotto, I realized that this was one of the most gourmet meals I had ever made -- if not the most gourmet.  

And I loved it.  

What a moment, from the finding perfect produce at a hidden barn, to cooking up a dish worthy of a restaurant menu.  

Fresh, local ingredients.  Great food.  Grown by neighbors, put together by me, enjoyed by my husband and I.  THIS is what I was hoping to be able to do some day, back when I started this blog.  And here I am, doing it.  

Yes, this is what it is all about.

by Lindsay Landis at Love and Olive Oil 


·        For Risotto:
1 small butternut squash
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese, divided
·        For Garnishes:
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
8-10 fresh sage leaves
Balsamic Glaze


COST: $10.20     COST PER SERVING (4): $2.55


  1. Mmmm... looks so good! I LOVE risotto. Can't wait to give this a try! :)

    1. It is a favorite of mine, too. You will love this one, I am pretty sure!

  2. I loooove both butternut squash and risotto, and this dish looks SO good. And how awesome that you got it for such a great deal, too. WIN!

    1. I know, right?! I love farm stands!


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