Monday, December 17, 2012

Pumpkin Risotto

Herein lies my Christmas Rant. I know, could I be anymore boring or typical? We all are stressed, hello, it's December, so please get over yourself, everyone tells me. This isn't typical of me though, which is making me more crazy than usual (which is making do things like make 2 kinds of cranberry bars - see ca-razy!).


Typically during these anxiety-ridden days I'm fine, peachy even! I sit back and look at the other frazzled individuals and wonder how they got there, because me, well, I'm sitting here with my glass half-full of wine and rainbows. I'm fine. My shopping is in control. My lists are made. My plan for the holidays is in place. I am cruising along.


This year, it's not happening. Why am I not crusing?? I'm not really sure why, because my shopping is 90% complete AND wrapped (hello awesome me!). My holiday plan is in place, I'm not overly thrilled with it, but there's not a lot I can do about it. I stare at my calendar and lists and feel this weird wanna-pull-my-hair-out-and-hide-in-a-corner-panic. Just, ugh. There's. just. so. much. to. do.


It's already half way through December and I have yet to get into the holiday spirit, despite excess Christmas music listening. Which, by the way I force myself to listen too, just because it's freakin' December and you listen to Christmas music in freakin' December. Jingle freakin' bells!


Here's where risotto comes into play. You're stressed and all you've eaten for days is candied bacon, cookies, and peppermint sticks. Poor you. But still, your body is, for some strange reason craving green things and orange things. You want salad and simple and tasty that doesn't come in the form of stripped peppermint. You want a meal that will soothe your soul, or at the very least, leave you buzzed by the end. I mean, is it too much to ask that your meal leave you buzzed either from a food coma or alcohol? I think not.


This is what we're all gonna do. Get a bottle of our favorite white and open it. Pour ourselves a generous glass. Sip. Savor. Hmm...Chop some onions and garlic. Sniff sniff. Hmm...Cook some bacon. Again, sniff sniff. Hmm...Throw in some rice, pumpkin, roast veggies. Sip more wine. Hmm...And while the risotto does its thing slowly and with a careful eye eyeing it, you start to relax. Maybe you put on some tunes and rock out in the kitchen (I promise to not watch you dance!). Maybe you take your wine, in between ladles of broth, and actually enjoy your Christmas tree. The point is you are finally gonna take a minute to like breath, deeply, fully.


Then your gonna eat.

Pumpkin Risotto with Roast Veggies
Serves 3-4

1/2 medium Onion, small diced
2-3 Garlic cloves, minced
3 slices of Bacon, cooked till crisp
3/4 cup Arborio rice
3-4 Tbsp Olive oil
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup White wine
3 cups Chicken broth
3/4 cup Pumpkin, pureed
1/2 Butternut squash, diced
1 cup Cherry or grape tomatoes
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
Thyme
Oregano
Nutmeg

1. On a large cookie sheet place the diced butternut squash and tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and oregano. Roast at 400F for 30 minutes until fork tender and crispy. Set aside.
2. Cook bacon however you like too. If you're feeling very motivated you could cook the bacon and use that fat to cook the onions and garlic, but I wasn't. I cooked the bacon in the microwave. Place all the chicken broth in a pot and heat up.
3. In a large saucepan heat up the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook on medium-low until the onions and garlic are translucent and fragrant. Add the rice. Cook for 1 minute, the rice should be translucent.
3. Add the white wine. Cook for a couple of minutes until the wine has been absorbed. Add a ladle full of warmed broth. Continue doing this every few minutes. Allow the broth to absorb, then add more. The amount will vary, don't worry, this is just a method of cooking the rice, to slowly allow the starch to release. The whole process will take about 25 minutes.
4. At about the 15 minute mark, add the pumpkin and a pinch of nutmeg. At 20 minutes add the cheese. Taste. The rice should be al dente. Adjust seasonings as desired.
5. To arrange place risotto on the plate. Add the veggies on top. Sprinkle with chopped bacon and a bit more cheese.

Variations:
1. Use whatever veggies you want. I used butternut squash and tomotoes because I had them on hand.
2. Use whatever herbs you like as well.
3. I do suggest sticking with white wine for this, not red.


Enjoy!

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