I feel like celebrating. It’s been a year (give or take a day or so) since Let’s Stay In hit the bookstores and I’m feeling sentimental. This little book went out to the world with a bit of fanfare and then I just left it to do its thing. Hoping, praying and crossing my fingers that the recipes will find their way into your homes, around your table and perhaps even into the stories of your families. I’ve received so many incredible messages throughout the year that indicate that my prayers were answered.
Thank you for trusting me with your time, your resources and with those precious moments spent around the table. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude today as I reflect on the incredible gift it is to be able to share this work. Just like any job there are many moments where it feels just like work. That’s when I sit back, often head into the kitchen just to cook and revel in the goodness.
Words fail me so let’s just celebrate this little occasion with a warming, special yet delightfully simple dinner. It’s what I’ll be making tonight and I hope you join me. Connecting with you all over recipes really does bring an intimacy that is felt beyond the computer screen.
Thanks for all the support and for enjoying and sharing the work I do. It would not happen without you all.
Oven Baked Risotto with Butternut Squash and Candied Rosemary Walnuts
Yield 4-6 servings
As much as I love cooking the reality is most days don’t afford me the luxury of gingerly stirring a pot for an hour with a glass of Pinot in hand. But just because that’s my reality doesn’t mean I can’t have risotto on a regular basis. Enter oven-baked risotto. This no-stir method produces a creamy, satisfying result without all the stirring (don’t worry, you can still have the wine in hand while the oven does all the work).
The process starts with a cold oven so that pesky preheating isn’t even an issue here. And if fall is a season or two away feel free to skip the squash and candied walnuts and go for say, roasted asparagus with peas. Or how about roasted corn and tomato laced with twangy goat cheese and a few wisps of basil? The adaptability here makes this dinner a perfect candidate for cleaning out your fridge.
4 tablespoons/ 60 g unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
1 large onion, diced about 3 cups/ 450 g
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced, about 4 cups / 540 g
1 1/4 cups/ 250 g arborio rice
4 cups/960 ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup/ 240 ml white wine, divided
1 cup/ 10 g finely grated Parmesan
1/2 cup/ 60 g crumbled gorgonzola (optional)
Add 2 tablespoons butter to a large skillet. Stir in the onions and rosemary and sauté over medium heat until they just start to color, about 15 minutes. Add the butternut squash and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt then continue to cook for 5 minutes. In a 9x13 baking dish add the rice, stock, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and 1 teaspoon sea salt then stir in the butternut squash mixture. Place the dish in the middle rack of your oven. Turn the oven to 400°F. Bake the rice for 30 minutes stirring about halfway through. The rice should still be ever so chewy. Remove the rice from the oven then stir in the remaining 1/2 cup white wine and the parmesan. Serve with the candied walnuts and gorgonzola crumbles, if using. Serve while warm.
*Leftovers? Breaded in Panko crumbs leftover risotto fries up beautifully in a skillet with just a bit of oil. Add an egg if the risotto is not wanting to hold together.
Candied Rosemary Walnuts
1 cup/ 120 g walnuts
1/4 cup/ 50 g sugar
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
Add the walnuts, sugar, and rosemary leaves to a dry skillet set over medium high heat. Stir occasionally as the sugar melts and caramelizes. Don’t leave the pan as the walnuts and sugar can easily burn. As the sugar starts to melt stir continuously until completely melted and the walnuts have shifted in color. The sugar will start to smoke but continue to cook until deeply caramelized. Carefully dump the caramelized walnuts onto a plate, sprinkle with flake salt then let cool.