Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wintry Deliciousness

Butternut squash is a versatile vegetable and a fall superstar to boot. It is currently showcased on the menus of hundreds if not thousands of restaurants in one or more of its various incarnations. Whether gnocchi or soup, stewed or steamed, baked or fried, butternut squash is a tasty treat that I welcome every fall. November and December are slim pickings at the farmer’s market though there is a veritable surfeit of root vegetables, apples, and gourds of all shapes and sizes. I love butternut squash and have strived to perfect a home cooked version of the nutty, creamy, bright orange soup that heralds Thanksgiving time. I invited a few friends over for dinner, one of which tends to lean towards vegetarianism, for a wintry feast of soup and wild mushroom risotto. Butternut squash has such a wonderful sweet flavor of its own, which I tried to highlight with the addition of chicken stock for richness and a few spices to kick it up. I served the soup in a little mug with a side of sliced degorged cucumbers tossed with olive oil and Sichuan pepper for color and freshness.

The second course was a wild mushroom risotto topped with grated
Parmesan. Risottos are very makes the best and most authentic Italian risottos that serve as a base for a whole slew of possible dishes. Add your favorite meats, vegetables, or both and experiment with possible combinations. In this case I used dried morel and fresh crimini mushrooms and more of the chicken stock I had used for the soup. It was a delicious winter feast that was thoroughly enjoyed by all before we sat down to watch the second season of “Twin Peaks”. Even the vegetarian was happy. As always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

1 comment:

Mary in France said...

I'm surprised that the vegetarian was happy that you added chicken stock to everything - being veg myself, I wouldn't appreciate it much - but it does sound delicious!