Posts Tagged ‘rice’

Butternut Squash Risotto - Meatballs&Milkshakes

This was an incredibly easy weeknight dinner after a week of long and involved meals. You can also potentially use up holiday leftovers, since I pre-roasted the squash the day before and added the mashed squash right at the end. It still has all the holiday flavors, but it’s great all winter long.

Butternut Squash Risotto

1/2 butternut squash

2 cups arborio rice

zest and juice of 1 orange

3 tablespoons fresh thyme

1/2 cup white wine

2 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought, warmed in the microwave or on the stove (you could substitute vegetable stock to make it vegetarian)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 shallot, minced

1 cup grated parmesan

Roast the squash in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes on a baking sheet with some of the olive oil brushed over it. It will become soft and you can scoop out the flesh. Mash up the squash well.

Meanwhile, saute the shallot and garlic in the remaining olive oil. Once they have softened, add the rice and allow to toast for a minute until they start to look a little translucent. Add the white wine and allow to cook down. Add the thyme and a little chicken stock. Continue to add stock slowly as it cooks away. It should have enough liquid to just cover, about the consistency of oatmeal.

When the rice is almost al dente, add the orange juice and zest along with the mashed squash. Stir to combine and allow to cook together for the last few minutes. Off the heat, stir in the parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve.

Butternut Squash Risotto - Meatballs&Milkshakes


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After the hurricane when we came down with colds, I had an impulse to make chicken soup. But being congested, I really wanted something I could taste. I always love Asian soups, and a little spice sounded like a great idea. And it was. But next time, I won’t wait to be sick to make this soup.

Thai Red Curry Chicken Soup

5 cups chicken stock

1 package rice noodles

2 tablespoons thai red curry paste

3 tablespoons fish sauce

1/2 can coconut milk

2 tablespoons sugar

Juice and zest of 2 limes

3 tablespoons cilantro (or basil or parsley), chopped

2 tablespoons mint, chopped

1-2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken or roasted chicken breast

1 tablespoon sesame or vegetable oil

Saute the curry paste in the oil for a few seconds to infuse the oil. Add the stock, fish sauce, coconut milk, sugar, lime zest and half the juice, and let it come to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add the chicken and allow to warm through. Off the heat, add the herbs and the remaining lime juice and serve.


Easy Chicken Stock

1 chicken carcass with leftover bones

1 onion, cut into quarters

2 garlic cloves

2 carrots, cut in half

a couple sprigs of any herb in the fridge, such as sage, thyme, parsley, etc

salt and pepper


Combine all the ingredients in a large pot and fill with water to almost full. Allow to simmer for 45-60 minutes and then allow to cool on the stove. Strain out the solids, and either use immediately or freeze for later.

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I haven’t made risotto in a while, and I had almost forgotten how wonderful it is. Risotto should be loose and a little runny, not a tight little ball when scooped onto a plate. I finished this one with a handful of grated cheese and a little butter to give it a richness. The term mantecare in Italian means to stir, and it’s usually used to refer to the process of quickly stirring in this finishing butter. By aggressively stirring, it emulsifies the butter and brings it all together.

Squash Blossom Risotto

6 squash blossoms, chopped

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 onion, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used a dark homemade chicken stock, but boxed or canned is fine)

1 cup white wine

1 cup grated parmesan

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Saute the onion and garlic in a tablespoon or two of olive oil until they have softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and toss in the oil to coat. Allow the rice to toast for a minute, until the outsides of the grains start to look translucent. Add the wine and stir. Warm the stock in a separate pan.

Slowly add the stock a ladle at a time, keeping enough liquid in the pan to continue the cooking process, but it shouldn’t be higher than the level of the rice. Cook at a medium heat and stir frequently with a spatula to let the rice emit it’s starches. Add the squash blossoms halfway through the stock. Cook until al dente, and you can use additional water if you run out of stock. It should be a little runny when done. Add the butter and stir vigorously to emulsify. Add the parmesan and olive oil and stir through.

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Ochazuke is one of my favorite comfort foods and I’ve been craving it this week as I’m sick with a cold. A nice, light broth combined with salmon for protein and rice for substance makes it a perfect one bowl meal. I may be congested, but thankfully I can still taste this. It’s traditional pub food, and I loved it the first time I tried it. I’m waiting to learn how to make dashi from a Japanese friend, but this is a pretty good version. Most ingredients you should be able to find in your supermarket, but feel free to substitute!


1 cup cooked white rice (any variety will do)

2 cups hot freshly brewed green tea

2 tablespoons mirin

4 ounces salmon fillet

2 tablespoons bonito flakes or ground bottarga

2 tablespoons japanese rice seasoning or combination dried seaweed and sesame seeds

Roast the salmon for 10 minutes with just a little olive oil, salt, and pepper until it’s cooked to medium rare. Pile the rice in a bowl and lay the salmon over the top. Sprinkled with bonito and rice seasoning. Combine the tea and mirin and pour over the top.


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Mexican food always means a party. There’s a time and place for (Italian) comfort food when I’m looking for a pick-me-up, and then there’s time for fish tacos and margaritas. I love these because they’re not so heavy, and I can make them quickly and concentrate on spending time with friends. Plus, when margaritas are involved, it’s best not to wait too long to eat….

Fish Tacos

2 fillets of white, firm fish, like tilapia

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

4-6 tortillas, warmed in a pan or oven for a few minutes

1-2 cups shredded napa cabbage

3 tablespoons cider vinegar or sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 limes, juiced

1 poblano pepper, broiled quickly to blister the skin (put in paper bag to help remove the skin)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, roasted under the same broiler until the skins start to burst

1 teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce

1 garlic clove, roasted with the tomatoes

cilantro or parsley

For the hot sauce, combine the pepper, tomatoes, garlic, and hot sauce in a blender with some salt and pepper to taste. Add half the lime juice and a handful of cilantro or parsley and blend again.

For the cabbage slaw, combine the cabbage, vinegar, half the lime juice and salt and pepper. This is best done ahead of time because it gives the flavors a chance to combine, but it will still be good if you make it at the same time.

Combine the flour, paprika, chili powder and some salt in a plate. Dredge the fish lightly and put directly into a couple tablespoons of oil in a pan. Allow it to brown on one side and then flip. I like to use non-stick for fish but if it sticks a little, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll be breaking up the fillets anyway.

Layer some fish, hot sauce and cabbage slaw onto a tortilla. Serve with some beans and rice and maybe a couple wedges of lime for squeezing at the table.

For my rice, I like to cook it according to package instructions but use half the amount of water and replace the rest with chicken stock. I add a bay leaf or two and a pinch of saffron. Sometimes I add a little ground cumin too. Not too much to make it really strong, just a gentle flavor.

For my beans, I generally use canned because they’re so handy, but I rinse them REALLY well. You don’t want any of that viscose liquid they come in, it’s full of sodium and it tastes weird. I saute up some bacon with some brown sugar and then toss in the beans. Add some water if it’s too thick and allow it cook together for 10 minutes.

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Arancini are a traditional bar snack in Italy and they are usually made earlier in the day and sit at room temperature on the bar until they are eaten. I usually don’t get around to making them because I rarely have leftover risotto. In fact, for my party I made a whole batch of risotto just to make these. Be warned, they do take a bit of work and I probably won’t make them in such a large batch again but they are great. With some homemade marinara, they’re a perfect, filling snack.


1/2 onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pinch saffron

2 cups arborio rice

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup white wine

1 cup pecorino, grated

2 eggs

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup olive oil

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and saute the onion, garlic, and saffron for a minute. Add the rice and toss in the oil to coat and toast for a few seconds. Add the wine and reduce. Add the chicken stock as the liquid gets reduced in stages. Season to taste. Once the rice is al dente, let the risotto chill until cold. Add an egg and the pecorino and mix together. Roll into small balls and refrigerate at least an hour. In separate bowls, place the flour, 1 egg beaten with a splash of water, and the panko. Dip the balls into the flour, then the egg, then the panko. They should be kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook. Put the rest of the olive oil in a pan and fry the balls, rotating them on each side as they brown. They are cooked already, so you really just need to brown them.


1 onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 carrot, grated

1 can San Marzano tomatoes

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup red wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil for a couple minutes. Add the oregano and carrot and cook for a couple minutes. Season with salt. Add the rest of the ingredients and let cook for 15-20 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender if you wish.

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