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Butternut Squash and Pistachio Risotto

September 26, 2011

September is always a whirlwind of enjoyment. The Fall creeps in, following students down the hall the first day of school. With the unexpected encounter with an old teacher, teenagers jump with infectious excitement, reminding you of the very reason that you love your job. Each day, chases the next. Meetings with the faculty. Goal setting. New lessons. Meeting with students. New approaches. New attitude. Arrive early. Back to School Night is a hit. Leave late. Perhaps greater than any year of teaching, I have really enjoyed this September. After eight years of teaching, I decided to start fresh, treating each class period as new curriculum. Re-reading, finding new readings, adjusting lessons. Between the energetic students and the new lessons, each class feels fun. 3:30 has never arrived so fast, and I am usually left with plenty to do before Serafina’s pick up time.

Of course, with this type of intensity, things fall to the wayside. I have a list of 10 people that I have not emailed back; dear friends who probably assume I fell off the side of the earth. Ambitious projects have been put on hold. It is possible that the house might be a smidge dirty. The weekend is saved for AAM, Serafina, and resting. With the September kick off behind me, things will slow, just in time for my favorite cooking season, Fall.

So tonight, while AAM and friends are watching Monday Night Football, I curled up on the new comfy couch to do some grading with an apple cider and this Butternut Squash and Pistachio Risotto.

The flavors work perfectly together, and this makes the perfect weeknight meal. Some consider risotto trying to make because of the stirring, but I find it methodical and soothing. Stop for a moment, watch the liquids rise and fill the rice. Add more. Stir again. Simple, but so yummy.

Butternut Squash and Pistachio Risotto

  • 3 tb Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 Butternut Squash
  • 1/2 cup of onions, chopped
  • 1 tb butter
  • 2 cups of arborio rice
  • 6-8 cups of veggie broth
  • 1/2 cup of Romano cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of pistachios
  • salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400

2. Cut the butternut squash in 4ths, remove the seeds, and brush with 2 tb olive oil. Place in the oven for 40 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, saute the onions in butter. Once they are translucent, throw in the rice and a bit of olive oil. Stir the rice, and let brown slightly, but don’t burn. Slowly add veggie broth, 1 cup at a time. Stir in. Add more. Keep doing this until the risotto is creamy and soft. Taste for texture if it looks close.

4. Take the pistachios, grind them up in a mortar and pestle.

5. Remove the squash from the oven. Cut off the rind and slice up the squash. Stir into the risotto, with salt, pepper, and cheese (optional).

6. Serve with pistachios sprinkled on top.

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