Butternut Squash Risotto

Aah, risotto. Some years back, when I was a young and naive undergraduate, I had never heard of risotto. It was a shame, really, because I love congee (perhaps the ultimate Asian comfort food) -- which is very similar, except it's a little runnier toppings go onto the finish product, instead of being mixed in at the end of cooking. Oh, it's delicious. This risotto was one of the first things Daniel cooked for me -- and I knew straight away that something special was going on.

This particular risotto is good because it's simple. Not a whole lot goes into it, but the individual flavors really come through. And don't be scared off because you've heard risotto is so time-consuming -- at the most, this recipe will take you an hour to throw together, and every minute is worth it.

Butternut Squash Risotto

1 large butternut squash (~2 lbs), peeled, seeded, chopped into 1/2" chunks
4 tbsp olive oil

6 cups vegetable broth

3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place squash on large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast until tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Bring stock to simmer in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to very low; cover and keep stock warm.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in another heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leeks and sauté until soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until absorbed, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup hot stock; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time, allowing stock to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently, until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, about 25 minutes longer. Add roasted squash, cream, Parmesan cheese and sage; stir until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Bon Appétit, December 1999
Serves 4 as a main course.

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Hoe Dup Bap

When we lived in Columbus, one of my favorite places to eat was a little Korean/Japanese restaurant on High St a little north of campus. The big draw was a rice, veggie and sashimi dish, sometimes referred to as sashimi bibimbap or hoe dup bap in Korean. It's a really tasty dish and all you have to do is a little prep work.

Like all bibimbap (which are basically a mixture of vegetable dishes, usually leftovers, mixed with rice), this is eaten with spicy bean paste (gochujang) that is mixed with a little vinegar and granulated sugar. You can find this at most asian grocery stores.

Hoe Dup Bap, or Sashimi Bibimbap:

1/3 lb sashimi grade tuna, or some other kind of fish
1 fuji apple, cored and julienned
1 carrot, julienned
1 cup daikon, julienned
1 avocado, cut in 1/2" dice
2 cups steamed white medium grain rice
1/2 head of lettuce, sliced thinly
1 sheet of nori, snipped into thin shreds

For the sauce:
1/2 cup gochujang paste
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp sugar

Arrange 1 cup of rice in a large bowl. Cover with half the lettuce, and half of the vegetable toppings. Sprinkle the nori and tuna on top, and serve with gochujang sauce on the side.
Serves 2.

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