Saturday, November 19, 2011

Vanilla Butternut Squash Risotto

Isn't waiting so much fun?  Last school year I completed the National Board Certification for Teachers process.  Portfolio with essays, videos, achievements and a test.  All of it was finished by April 10.  Since then I have been waiting for the results.  Last week, I got an email that the results would be in November 18th and was soo excited.  That day I got to work, opened the website with my adrenaline rushing, to find that the server had shut down.  From 8 - 12 my friend and I must have hit the refresh button 100 times or more trying to see if the scores were posted.  Then I got an email saying wait until 4:00 pm.  Since then, every 4 - 5 hours, there is an update on the site saying that Pearson (why do they have their hands in everything?) is still working on bringing the site on line.  Argg!!!  For me, the process was not that hard, which surprised the other NBCT at my school since they all took classes to help prepare.  However, I have been in school for at least 10 years now, writing and reflecting on my teaching, so this was nothing different.  However, I am worried because I have heard that grading is very subjective, and I just don't know how I could have done any better?  Retaking a section of the portfolio or the test costs around $300 so I really need to pass the first time.

In the midst of waiting, comes Thanksgiving.  I have been so busy preparing professional development sessions for work, organizing our school wide data management tool, and getting ready to teach my students I haven't really had any time to find and rehearse any new recipes.  For the side dish, it is a toss up between my sweet potato risotto, which everyone liked last year, and this dish.  For my vegetarian mom I am going to make toasted quinoa with blistered tomatoes, spinach and walnuts because she can't eat white rice because of osteoporosis.  Then, I'm making a new cranberry sauce recipe.  At first I was going to make Spiced Tea Cranberries but as my mom pointed out, some people really hate tea.  So, I am going to go instead with Maple Orange Cranberry Sauce.   

When we went to Michigan over Labor Day, we stopped at a few different farmers markets and found butternut squash super cheap!  Its so nice how squash lasts and last week I finally used it to make a butternut squash risotto.  I wanted to make it differently than my sweet potato risotto, so I found this unique recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.  

To cut and dice a butternut squash, first cut off the top and bottom of the squash.  Then cut in half.  I found it easiest to cut off the peel, even though some people say you could use a peeler (hasn't worked for me yet).

Vanilla Butternut Squash Risotto
Adapted from Food Network

4+ cups of vegetable broth
1 vanilla bean
1 small butternut squash peeled and cubed
1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional)

In a pot, warm the broth on medium heat.  Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise.  Scrape out the seeds and add them and the bean to the broth.  When it begins to simmer, turn heat to low.   Add butternut squash and continue to cook for around 5 minutes until soft.  Using a slotted spoon, take the butternut squash out and put to the side.  Continue to simmer broth on low.  

In another pot, heat olive oil on medium.  Add onion and saute until translucent.  Stir in rice and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add in white wine and stir until soaked in. Then add in 1/2 cup of broth.  Cook and stir until liquid is absorbed.  Continue adding in broth 1/2 cup at a time, when the rice has soaked in the previous additions, and stop when the rice is just tender. You may have to add more broth to the pot.  Take out the vanilla bean and take off of stove.  Add in butternut squash and salt and pepper to taste.  Add parmesan if you would like and serve! 

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