Winter Squash Risotto

February 01, 2016 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Recipe

Winter Squash Risotto

I love risotto. It’s such a comforting and rich dish that often gets overlooked because people think it takes a really long time to make. Or, it’s complicated. As I’ve talked about before, it’s really not that hard to make.

This recipe gets the most out of your winter squash by simmering the seeds and strings in the vegetable broth.

Winter Squash Risotto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: Vegetarian
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2T butter
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1T olive oil
  • ½ large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1T fresh sage, minced
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  1. Cut acorn squash in half. Remove seeds and strings and place in bowl.

  2. Brush inside of acorn squash with butter. Sprinkle with salt and paper.
  3. Place on baking sheet, cut sides up and put in pre-heated 400 degree oven. Roast for 30 minutes - or until soft and browned.
  4. While acorn squash is roasting, pour broth into medium saucepan and add the reserved seeds and strings from the acorn squash. Simmer on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and pour broth through small hold sieve to remove seeds and strings.

  5. Heat olive oil over medium heat in large pan. Add onions and saute until translucent.
  6. Add dry risotto to pan and heat for about 1 minute.
  7. Add white wine, stir risotto to distribute wine. Once wine is almost absorbed add one cup of the vegetable broth. Once liquid is almost absorbed add another cup of the broth. Stir occasionally just to ensure the risotto is not sticking to bottom of pan.

  8. Continue adding the liquid and allowing it to absorb one cup at a time until the risotto is plump and soft. Once you’ve hit about six to seven cups of liquid, begin taste testing risotto for doneness. Keep adding liquid until risotto is soft and creamy. If you run out of vegetable broth and the risotto still needs to cook, use hot or boiling water until done.
  9. When the acorn squash is done roasting, scrape the insides with a spoon and place in a bowl. Mash with a potato masher or with a fork.

  10. Once risotto is cooked, add acorn squash, sage and ¾ of the Parmesean cheese. Salt and pepper, to taste. Stir through until combined and cheese has melted.
  11. Serve with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.



Slow Cooker Broccoli Risotto

November 02, 2013 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Recipe, Side Dishes

I’ve said it before here on Veggin’, risotto isn’t that hard to make. But, this recipe makes it ridiculously easy to make. Sure, you have to chop up some broccoli and throw it in a food processor, but other than that, you just toss everything in the cooker and let it cook away…

(Also, the bonus with this recipe is chopping the bejeezus out of the broccoli in the blender or food processor. I think I had way too much fun with that.)

Recipe: Slow Cooker Broccoli Risotto

Summary: An easy risotto that you can walk away from while it is cooking.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 pound broccoli florets
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • parmesean cheese, grated for garnish


  • Shred broccoli florets in food processor.
  • Turn slow cooker on high. Add olive oil into slow cooker.
  • Add risotto rice and onion flakes and mix around in the oil.
  • Add garlic, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper.
  • Stir in broccoli and vegetable broth.
  • Add butter on top.

  • Cover and cook for 2 hours. Check on it every 30 to 45 minutes. Add more liquid as necessary until rice is tender.

  • Stir in Greek yogurt and mozzarella.
  • Serve with parmesean cheese on top.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 2 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Veggin’ Cookbook Chronicles: Poor Person’s Sukiyaki

July 03, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Cookbook Chronicle Challenge, Main Dishes

The title of my next cookbook is a novel in itself: From a Monastery Kitchen: A practical cookbook of vegetarian recipes for the four seasons complete from soups to desserts with breads. This cookbook, written in 1976, was inspired by a visit to a monastery in the Hudson Valley. The recipes were compiled by Elise Boulding with the assistance of Brother Victor Avila.

Divided by season, each section features starters to deserts. Illustrations are more whimsical and have nothing to do with the final dish.

Each recipe is framed with, as the author describes it, “a collage of quotations and art that is intended to reflect the nearly two-thousand-year-old experience of monastic life as an affirmation of wholeness, simplicity, and joy.” Many are good reading while you are waiting for your pot to boil or your food to cook.

These are a few the struck a cord with me:

“A little Madness in the Spring is wholesome even for the King” – Emily Dickinson

“Many’s the long night I dreamed of cheese – toasted, mostly” – Robert Louis Stevenson

“Many excellent cooks are spoiled by going into the arts” – Gauguin

“The bigger the dairymaid, the better the cheese” – Derbyshire Proverb

This is a strange yet fascinating little cookbook. The instructions and recipes are simple but sometimes basic steps or directions are missing. For example, one recipe begins, “cook the apples, using as little water as possible, sweetening at the end of cooking”. How am I cooking the apples? In a pan? In a skillet? In the oven? How long am I cooking them?

This is a primarily vegetarian cookbook but there are a few fish dishes included. The index is divided by type of dish such as “egg and cheese dish”, “pancake and cereal dishes”, “vegetable dishes”. The listings underneath are by recipe title. So, if you don’t know what Beans Bengal contains, you have to flip to the recipe page. (By the way, it’s yellow split peas, cheddar cheese, curry powder, onion, green pepper, olive oil and seedless raisins).

There is also a page of “useful culinary instructions” with some interesting tidbits about how to make “hi-protein matzo balls” (“Follow recipe on box, double egg and add wheat germ.”) and a heading called “Curry” (“Is very digestible. (OK for persons with ulcers!) Use in white sauces.)” I did learn how to “pseudosaute” with the instructions appearing at the end of the recipe below.

I did find that there is a new edition of the cookbook printed in 2002. Looking through it, there are fewer quotations and excerpts, and the recipes are updated. (I compared the chickpea soup recipe and the instructions changed from, “Boil, in plenty of water, until soft. Chop vegetables and simmer together with seasonings. Combine with cooked chickpeas and serve as soup.” to, “Add the remaining ingredients and cook slowly over medium heat for about an hour, until chickpeas and vegetables are tender.”)

I found that in the 1976 edition, while some of the recipes are a bit simple, they do sort of provide a foundation for elaboration. And, most a pretty adaptable, like this recipe. The recipe reads as if someone is verbally telling giving you the recipe and giving approximations a la “you can throw a little bit of this, and a little bit of that and then cook it. ” So, I decided to do just that.

Instead of rice, I used risotto. I omitted the beans and used a smoked tofu instead of regular tofu. (If you haven’t used smoked tofu before, run out and get some, it adds depth to any dish and provided a sort of, dare I say, “meaty” flavor.) Towards the end of cooking, I just ended up throwing in all the mushrooms I had and could also see throwing in steamed broccoli, snap peas and other asian vegetables into the sauce. I think the key with this dish is that if you’re adding vegetables, precook them and then drench them with the sauce.

Poor Person’s Sukiyaki
From a Monastery Kitchen, 1976 edition

  • 1 cup scallions or onions finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup light cooking sherry or sweet wine
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cups fresh spinach or well-drained frozen (any steamed greens can be substituted)
  • 2 cups mushrooms, if available, other vegetables can be added
  • sugar to taste if desired
  • soy bean curd (tofu) cut in squares (if available)
  • 4 cups cooked or 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice (or any combination of rice and beans such as blackeye peas and rice, pinto beans and rice, etc.)

Cook scallions or onions according to the “pseudosauteing method” (see below).

Add sherry and soy sauce and stir.

Add spinach and other vegetables. Simmer 3 or 4 minutes. Add a little sugar as sauce cooks, if desired.

Remove from heat. Add tofu and pour mixture over rice or rice and bean combination. Other vegetables can be added. Amounts of all ingredients can be varied. Serves 6 to 8.

“Pseudosauteing technique”: delicious and healthy To give a sauteed taste without indigestibility of fried foods: instead of sauteing in butter or oils, cook in just enough slightly sugared water or broth so that when fully cooked water is all absorbed and fod is beginning to stick to the pan and burn a little. Quickly pour in a little cold-pressed oil; stir it up well and scrape all the brown which had begun to burn. (This retains all the vitamins from vegetables and oil, uses oil as seasoning, and still gives the sauteed taste. Recommended for carrots, greens, potatoes, parsnips, onions, string beans, broccoli, etc.) People who can’t digest fried foods can eat these. Salt and pepper to taste after cooking.

Vegetarian Giro d’Italia: Risotto al Barolo (Risotto with Barolo Wine)

May 12, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Vegetarian Giro d'Italia

Risotto al Barolo (Risotto with Barolo Wine)

Finally! We made it to Italy! We start out in the Piedmont region where the team time trial (TTT) takes place. The TTT requires heavy work which requires a heavy meal. It’s a good thing because in this region the cuisine is inspired by farmers and peasants where il vino che e pane (the wine that is bread) is nourishment for these hard working people…

Butter is preferred over olive oil due to a strong French influence while polenta and rice, highly cultivated in the Piedmont, are used much more than pasta. Meanwhile, perfumed truffles and mushrooms are featured frequently as they are found in the dark oak forests prevalent in this region. Hearty fruits and vegetables (potatoes, radicchio, cabbage and greens) grow well due to sunny days and warm nights.

I chose a hearty Risotto al Barolo as my first Italian dish as it perfectly embodies the region – it features a wine from the Piedmont region, risotto and butter. It is a warm satisfying dish after a long day of work. You could also add a few drops of truffle oil (or a few shavings of an actual truffle) if so inspired just to round out this dish.

I do know that a lot of you are intimidated by the thought of making risotto. Before you go running and screaming from your kitchen, let me give you this note: Risotto is honestly very easy to make (you just don’t have to reveal this fun fact to the people you are serving.) My preferred method for cooking risotto is different than in this recipe which requires you to simmer the risotto first, drain, then gradually add liquid. My method is the “add liquid a little at a time and don’t stir so often” method. Either way works just fine, I’m just partial to my way. Why? Megabeth prerogative, that’s why.  (If you want to use my method, read my post entitled:  “Risotto: It’s Not That Hard to Make.“) If you use this recipe’s method, be sure to reserve some extra of the vegetable broth you simmer the risotto in. I found that I needed to add more liquid towards the end to soften up the risotto even after adding the wine.

Risotto Al Barolo (Risotto with Barolo)
adapted from The Good Food of Italy

4 cups light vegetable stock
1 2/3 cups Arborrio rice
Salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped
4 Tablespoons butter
About 1 1/4 cups Barolo or other good red wine
Grated parmesan

Bring the stock to the boil, add the rice, season with salt and pepper.

Simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then drain. (Note: Reserve some of the vegetable stock in case you need to add more liquid to the risotto later.)

In the meantime, in another large saucepan, fry the onion in 1 tablespoon of butter until soft and transparent, add the rice.

Pour in the wine a little at a time, and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the rice is tender. (Note: Add some of your reserved vegetable stock, little by little, if the rice has not cooked all the way through.) The risotto should be moist and creamy. Stir in the rest of the butter and let it melt in.

Sprinkle in some parmesean and stir until it is melted and creamy. Sprinkle additional cheese on top when serving.

Cycling photo copyrighted. Used with permission.

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