Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Butternut Squash and Sweet Corn Risotto with Saffron and Lemon Thyme

Happy Birthday to Mama Ozzy's Table!  It's hard to believe, but one year ago today this blog was born with the post Turkey Meatball subs.  Here's to a year of good eating!  In that time over 11,000 people have visited my table.  Bring on year two!

My daughter Rachel has been visiting in Durham for the last week, which meant it was time for me to cook up a storm.  Since Rachel likes to only eat meat on special occasions we decided it would be fun to do an all vegetarian weekend.  So, on Saturday morning, in 100 degree weather, we went to the Durham farmer's market to look for inspiration for the weekend's menu.

I am a big fan of the Durham farmer's market.  Everything is grown and produced locally and everything is organic.  There are no "super vendors" with enormous stalls that look more like the produce section at the grocery store than an organic mom and pop farm.  Most stalls at the Durham market are one or two tables and the vegetables and fruits are absolutely fresh and beautiful.  We bought sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, basil, tiny potatoes, a growler of sweet potato lager from Fullsteam brewery, cantaloupe, and so much more.

When we got everything home and unpacked we had to decide what to make with our treasures and settled on making a squash and sweet corn risotto with herbs from the garden.  This dish was really delicious and the flavors of the squash and fresh sweet corn were amazing together in the saffron infused rice.  We garnished the dish with fresh lemon thyme, but I think even dried thyme would have been excellent!

Butternut Squash and Sweet Corn Risotto with Saffron and Lemon Thyme
serves 6-8

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small (1/2-inch) cubes
3 ears of sweet corn (I used silver queen), kernels removed with a large knife
1 shallot minced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups vegetable stock, heated to a simmer
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of saffron
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp fresh lemon thyme leaves.

Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet.  Add shallots and saute 20 seconds.  Add rice to pan and stir to coat rice until covered with oil.  Fry rice over medium high heat until it begins to turn opaque (about 5 minutes).

Add Squash, salt, saffron, cinnamon, garlic and white wine.  Cook until liquid is absorbed almost completely.

Begin adding hot stock to rice one ladle at a time, stirring constantly until the mixture is nearly dry before adding another ladle of stock and continue this process until all the stock has been used (about 30 minutes) stirring constantly.

When all  but the last ladle of stock has been added, add corn kernels to pan and stir in with last ladle of stock.  Stir until almost dry.  Add butter and stir in.  Add parmesan cheese and stir in.  Garnish with lemon thyme leaves and serve immediately.

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