Meals around here have been a bit bizarre lately, eaten at odd hours and sometimes clubbed together from strange sources. (Which is not to say bad, but maybe a little strange. We had meatballs in marinara over creamy polenta the other day, too. I love crock pot cooking.) That being said, I do have one meal I'd like to discuss.
Fall has arrived with a vengeance; snow even fell on Friday. This is cozy food weather! The other day I made spinach risotto with harvest compote on top.
The risotto was straight forward enough: toast the arborrio, grate in a couple cloves of garlic, add chicken stock gradually, stirring quite often, until rice is cooked but not mush. To this I added a generous amount of parmasan (we ran out of our hunk of parm so I had bought pre-grated shakey cheese instead. I added more to compensate for flavor loss). Just before serving, I wilted in a bunch of baby spinach.
Meanwhile, in another pan, I browned some sage sausage. I removed the sausage, but made sure to leave all the drippings in the pan. In this liquid yum I softened onion and garlic, and then began to cook diced butternut squash. To allow the squash to steam, I popped a lid on it and let it do its thing. The squash softened but didn't fall apart, but something was missing. I added the sausage back to the pan but was still not satisfied. It so happened that I had a surplus of stock in the risotto, so I scooped some out and put it in with the squash mixture. It was a perfect idea! The stock had a lot of the rice starch in it, so within a minute the squash had its own thick, rich gravy.
Darling Husband and I each got a bowl full of risotto with wilted spinach woven through, topped with goey, steamy squash and sausage. For added color and flavor punch, I tossed a handful of craisins and glazed walnuts on top. The flavors were well developed but not terribly complex. The walnuts were sweet and crunchy, the craisins tart and chewy, the squash and sausage very savory, the spinach slightly bitter and the risotto decadently creamy. It was stick to your ribs food and I, for one, adored it.