The last of the automn crops & a delicious roasted squash, oyster mushroom risotto with brown butter sage and truffle oil

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This is it, almost the end. The market is getting smaller with every week, my hats, scarves and mittens have come out of hiding and the weather has dipped. Funny how we’re never prepared to have winter arrive yet when spring shows its face, it can never come soon enough! The good news with this kind of weather is cooking. Comfort. Food.! I love it 🙂

 

I created this dish kind of as an afterthought. I had bought the mushrooms and forgotten them and needed to cook them ASAP. I originally wanted to make a seafood risotto but forgot to buy the seafood…(!) As I looked around, the winter squash looked back at me and then an idea started to form. How about roasting the pumpkin in the oven with a bit of maple syrup and Piment Espelette. The result was even better than I imagined, the roasted squash melding with the rice as I stirred, giving it a beautiful colour. Yay! Seeing as the oven was on, I might as well roast the seeds and mushrooms as well. Cooking alone means you have smaller quantities and therefore I try to only turn the oven when I have more that one dish. Multitasking = better energy consumption. You kind of have to be super organised to function this way, what can I say, the environment and its health are important to me 🙂

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup thinly sliced winter squash (with skins if variety permits) cut to 2 inch pieces, tossed with 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon Piment d’Espelette and salt to taste

1 cup oyster mushrooms, tossed in a dash of olive oil and salt

1 small shallot, diced

1 small sprig sage

1 tablespoon pine nuts

1 teaspoon butter

1/4 cup arborio rice

1/2-3/4 cups chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Truffle oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Pre-heat oven to 375°. Place tossed squash on baking dish lined with parchment paper, place oyster mushrooms on a second dish. Roast in oven for 25-35 minutes, keeping an eye out for burning. Let cool while preparing the other ingredients.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, place sage leaves face down and pine nuts. Allow butter to brown lightly. Remove sage leaves when roasted, add shallots and sweat for 2-3 minutes. Add rice and sweat a further 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add stock a few tablespoons at a time, stirring frequently and allowing rice to absorb liquid before adding more. After 15 minutes, add half the roasted squash, continue adding stock and stirring, until rice is cooked and has creamy texture, roughly 20-30 minutes. Add remaining squash, stir to blend and add more stock if needed. Serve in plate, garnish with roasted mushrooms and sage leaves. Lightly sprinkle a dash of truffle oil and enjoy! Serves one, can easily be doubled for a lunch leftover, however add more liquid to refrigerated portion, as it will continue to absorb.

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Lemon & Pea Risotto and impatient to be back on my own two feet!

IMG_0875Half way through my six week post-surgery recovery. For someone like me, hyperactive (!), it can be difficult remembering to take it slow, especially when you feel fine. When fever strikes, your body just takes over and stops you in your tracks! I’m missing the market so much, I try to console myself by remembering that when my recovery is over, it will be the best time for all the beautiful fruits and veggies. Cucumbers, tomatoes, peaches, plums, apricots and did I mention, Peaches? Can’t wait 🙂 In the meantime, my mom has graciously offered to go for me, although I’m happy for fresh fare, it’s not the same as seeing it all. To me, the market is like a candy store for a kid! It’s also a struggle creatively, the market is inspirational, it’s totally different making a list for someone else to go with the hopes of finding what you want, sometimes you see something you hadn’t thought of or something you wanted just doesn’t look quite ready yet… Plus the weather has been quite strange, mostly grey, some sun, lots of rain. I am happy that evenings are cool though, as it’s easier to sleep in the cool than in the heat 🙂

Risotto is not something I make frequently, I like mine with just one or two star ingredients, like the fresh peas for this one. Some lemon zest adds a lot of brightness and keeps the dish light. You could certainly make this with frozen peas, the peas won’t be quite as firm under tooth. The most important thing to remember is that you just can not make risotto with another type of rice such as Arborio. It absorbs a lot of liquid and has a decent amount of starch to create that creaminess that risotto is famous for. I use my spanish Bomba rice with success, it has the same basic qualities, but in an ideal world, Arborio should be used. Here’s to enjoying summer, whatever shape it may take!

IMG_0869IMG_0870IMG_0872INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup Arborio rice

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup peas

1 medium shallot, diced

1 tablespoon tarragon, minced

1 cup stock of your preference

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Salt & pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat pan over medium-high heat, add butter and when sizzling, add shallots. Stir until glassy and add peas, mix well then add rice and stir to coat rice. Slowly add stock ( 50 ml at a time) and stir often, add tarragon and reduce heat to medium-low. When rice absorbs most of the liquid, add more stock. Continue this way, stirring and adding  small amounts of liquid until creamy and rice is cooked, maybe 20-30 minutes. Add lemon zest and parmesan, rectify seasoning if needed. Serve in bowl or dish. Serves 2. Enjoy!

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