Gastronomically Terrific

July 10, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:35 pm

This is now such a regular feature in our house that we just make it up as we go along.  This qualifies as the “Summer Risotto”, being based mostly around herbs for flavour instead of spices and alcohol.

Summer Risotto

Summer Risotto with Butternut Squash and white wine

Of course you can do basically anything with risotto.  They key is getting some flavours in, here provided by mint and basil in a white wine and stock.  The next most important thing is making sure it has enough vegetables in  that you like.


1/2 Butternut squash, 1 carrot, 1/2 onion, 1/2 leek, 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 pepper, 2 mushrooms, pine seeds, butter, white wine, fresh herbs.

Method (serves 2):

To make the butternut  squash, peel (1/2 a fair sized squash) and chop into chunks, drizzle with oil and balsamic vinegar and bake (evenly spread) at 200 degrees for an hour. (optionally sprinkle on pine seeds after 30 mins).

Meanwhile for the risotto, fry some onion, leek and garlic in a dollop of butter.  Make 500ml of vegetable stock.  When the onion starts to go soft, add 1 small cup of rice (risotto if you have it, but actually most rice types work) and a small amount of stock, and turn down to a simmering heat.  Keep adding stock when it needs it to keep the consistency sticky but not wet.  Add the thinly sliced carrots and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the diced pepper and simmer for a further 15 minutes.  Then add the mushrooms and a good guzzle of white wine, and give it an additional 10 minutes.

When the rice is cooked (which should take about 50 minutes), add a dollop of butter with a handful of two of your favourite chopped herbs (say, basil and mint). Mix and leave to “breath” for a couple of minutes.  Serve the squash on the risotto, with grated cheese on top… and a salad on the side if that floats your boat 🙂


August 29, 2010

Roasted vegetables and pasta

Filed under: main — Tags: , , — thinkingdan @ 10:26 pm

The second course for our three course meal was “macaroni with roasted vegetables”.  I’m enough of a cook to know that you can replace macaroni with pasta, and not so greedy to want lots of pasta.  Hence my rearranged title, which I confess to having some reservations about when we started.  Far too often I’m offered pasta as a main in restaurants and it turns out to be exactly that, some pasta.  I’m pleased to say that this recipe did not disappoint.

Another small parsley forest felled for our enjoyment.

Basically, all there is to this is:

  1. Roast some vegetables in garlic and olive oil at a high temperature for about an hour.
  2. Boil some pasta.
  3. Throw the lot together with some passata and black olives, heat through and serve.

This is incredibly simple but does bring the best out of the natural flavours in the vegetables, and provides a well rounded meal.  I normally find that passata needs a lot of cooking to give an intense flavour, but here we roasted some tomatoes so they did the trick nicely, in fact complementing the vegetable flavours without overwhelming it.  The pasta provides a simple base, and I’d probably be happier with roasted potatoes, but this is one of the best ways to eat pasta and I will be repeating the experience!

Who made it: Dan and Anna jointly.

Recipe: “The daily cook book” by Love Food, September 5th.

May 3, 2010

Rosti with roasted vegetables

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:16 pm

This is a misnomer – it should have been called roasted vegetables with rosti.

The rosti are under there somewhere, I promise!

This is a great way of cooking vegetables to bring out their natural flavours and add just a little more.  The veggies are marinated for at least an hour in olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar, garlic and honey – a fantastic sweetening and encouraging of the natural flavours, with the vinegar adding an amazing taste (I was recently converted!)   The vegetables should be ones you like, because they taste distinctively of themselves, although roasted courgette is not as watery as normal, and decent tomatoes taste amazing like this!

The rosti are potato cakes.  This recipe is just to grate par boiled potato, fold them into patties and fry them.  Its ok, but basically tastes of mashed potato – there are much better rosti recipes in the world.  Cheese and onion work well, as does garlic.

This recipe uses a pesto/olive oil mixture as a sauce that I liked, although I’m not really sure that it works better than a gravy would.  Of course, being essentially a tasty way to cook roast, any other roasted items could be added.  Sausages would seem appropriate as would good ol’ roasties and yorkshire puddings.  In summary, this is a great way to roast vegetables and we’ll be experimenting along these lines again.

Who made it: Anna and Dan jointly.

Recipe: “the daily cook book” by Love Food, May 3rd.

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