Food

I can’t believe it is Thanksgiving again and I haven’t posted since last year.  I must calendar so I can post more of my delicious recipes.  But for 2016, this is a good one and different too.

Pumpkin Risotto (Risotto di zucca gialla)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 pound peeled pumpkin (or other winter squash) flesh, cut into small chunks
  • 4 small shallots, peeled and finely minced
  • 2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 6 cups hot chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated or thinly shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Preparation

In a large saucepan over low heat, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter until butter is melted, then add the garlic and pumpkin chunks. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon until the pumpkin softens and starts to break down. Remove from heat and separate into two halves. Puree one-half in a food processor, and set both the pureed and non-pureed pumpkin aside.

In another large saucepan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining butter over low heat.

Add the shallots and cook until soft and transparent, about 8 minutes.

Add the rice and stir well with a wooden spoon to coat the rice evenly with the oil and butter. Add the white wine and continue cooking, constantly stirring, until the rice has absorbed the wine.

Add 3 cups of the broth and continue cooking and stirring until the liquid has been absorbed. Then add 1 more cup of broth and cook, stirring, until absorbed. Repeat until all 6 cups of broth have been used, and the rice is al dente (tender but still chewy).

Stir in the pumpkin puree and chunks, lowering the heat to very low. Add the Parmigiano and remaining butter and stir until both are melted, and the mixture is creamy.

Serve immediately in shallow bowls, with additional grated Parmigiano, if desired.

Other optional toppings for serving:

  • finely chopped parsley
  • fried and crumbled pancetta or bacon
  • sage leaves fried in butter till crisp
  • chopped fresh rosemary

2015

In honor of the season, I am offering the following side dish you may want to add to your Thanksgiving menu.

ROASTED GRAPE AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH MEDLEY

INGREDIENTS

1 MEDIUM SIZED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, PEELED, SEEDED AND CUT INTO ¾ INCH DICE1

½ LB RED GRAPES

1 MEDIUM YELLOW SWEET ONION, ¾ INCH DICED

1 TABLESPOON SAGE LEAVES, THINLY SLICED INTO STRIPS

2 TABLESPOONS EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

1 TABLESPOON MELTED BUTTER

2 TABLESPOONS TOASTED PINE NUTS

½ TABLESPOON SEA SALT

1 TEASPOON FRESHLY CRACKED BLACK PEP

  1. PREHEAT OVEN TO 400 DEGREES. COMBINE SQUASH, GRAPES, ONIONS AND SAGE IN A LARGE BOWL AND DRIZZLE WITH OLIVE OIL AND MELTED BUTTER.  SEASON WITH SALT AND PEPPER.
  2. SPREAD THE MIXTURE ON A HEAVY SHEET PAN.
  3. PLACE IN OVEN AND COOK UNTIL SQUASH AND ONIONS BEGIN TO BROWN AND ARE TENDER

(APPROXIMATELY 35 TO 45 MINUTES).

  1. REMOVE FROM OVEN, SPRINKLE WITH TOASTED PINE NUTS AND TOSS TO MIX.

 

This German dessert is one of my favorites.  It is with fond memories that I recall my Hungarian grandmother making this when I was a little girl, and it was scrumptious. I can still picture us in her big kitchen as she rolled out the dough and stretched it this way and that!

Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)

Dough (for 2 strudels)

4-1/2 – 5 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp vinegar
1-1/2 tbsp oil
1-1/2 cups tepid water

1. Start with 4 cups flour in the mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the salt, egg, vinegar, oil and water.

2. Now combine the egg mixture into the flour in the bowl. Use as little of the extra flour as possible (about 1/2 cup) in the kneading to get a dough that flows when you hold it by the top half. Knead the dough until it is smooth and comes clean off of the hand. Depending on how hard you knead, this could take 10-20 minutes.

3. Divide the dough into two parts. Store in small, tight-sealing, oiled dishes. Rest the dough overnight at room temperature.

Filling (for 1 strudel)

1/2 lb melted butter
3-4 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped (1-1/2 pounds) – try to use a mix of tangy apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, etc.)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
1 tbsp cinnamon, or to taste
raisins, dried fruit, optional, to taste

1. Melt about 8 ounces of butter in over low heat.

2. For the pulling, you need a large table. Spread and clip a clean cloth (a coloured table cloth works great) over a large rectangular table. Flour the cloth and turn the dough from one dish out onto the center.  With a floured rolling pin roll it out long and narrow, as much as possible. Brush the dough evenly with melted butter. Lift and stretch the dough to about double its size.  Brush the dough evenly with melted butter, concentrating on the edges. Lift and stretch the dough (including the middle) until it hangs over all the sides. When finished stretching, remove the thickened edge by rolling  it as it is torn off.

3. If the fruit is very juicy squeeze some juice out. One one end of the long edge (about 6-10 inches from the edge), sprinkle with the bread crumbs, then sugar, apples, raisins and cinnamon.

4. Fold the dough over at the short sides, by lifting the cloth and quickly flipping the dough over onto itself.  Roll up the dough by grabbing the cloth on both ends of the filled side and lifting it so that the strudel rolls gently. Be careful not to roll the strudel over the opposite edge!

5. Lift the roll in an S-shape into a  buttered pan (can use vegetable shortening since it is less likely to burn). Brush the strudel with melted butter. Pull and fill the second strudel. Bake together in a pre-heated 400F oven for about 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 350F. Bake until light brown for approximately another 25-35 minutes.

6. Let the strudel cool a bit before cutting it into pieces. Best served when still warm from the oven. Can be frozen and reheated.

One strudel serves 8-10.

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