Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

While summer is known for its sweet fruits and abundant veggies, winter boasts some of the best varieties as well. Squash is one of my favorites, in particular butternut squash and acorn squash. Butternut squash is a power food that nutritionists recommend you add to your diet. Enjoy it roasted plain as a side or added to a pasta or rice dish. This risotto dish makes a plentiful amount, perfect for large groups.

Roasted butternut squash risotto

Ingredients:

> 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
> 1 tablespoon butter, melted
> 1 teaspoon brown sugar
> 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
> 2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed, peeled butternut squash
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
> 4 cups vegetable broth
> 1/2 cup water
> 1 cup finely chopped onion
> 1 1/4 cups uncooked Arborio rice
> 1/2 cup chardonnay
> 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme
> 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
> 1/4 teaspoon salt
> 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
> 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Arrange nuts on a baking pan and bake for 5 minutes, or until toasted, stirring as necessary. Place nuts in a bowl. Drizzle butter over warm nuts and sprinkle with sugar and 1/8 tablespoon pepper. Toss well to coat.

Toss squash in 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange squash on a baking pan and bake at 400° for 15 minutes, or until squash is just tender. Remove from pan and stir in garlic. Set aside.

Bring broth and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan, but do not boil. Keep warm over low heat.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine and cook 1 minute or until wine is almost absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next. This process will take about 20 minutes total.

Stir in squash, thyme, lemon rind, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Top with cheese and nuts.

Makes 8 servings.

Adapted to be vegetarian from MyRecipes recipe.

Lentil Stew

After a cold windy day, the most satisfying meal is a hearty stew. Filled with protein and savory flavors, the lentils provide texture. With vegetable broth and water, the consistency can be made into a thinner soup or thicker stew.

Lentil Stew

Ingredients:

> 1 cup lentils, rinsed
> 2 garlic cloves, 1 whole, 1 chopped
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> 1 cup chopped onion
> 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
> 1 cup vegetable broth
> 1 cup frozen spinach, dethawed
> salt and pepper

Instructions:

Boil a medium saucepan of water. Add the lentils and whole garlic clove. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer, reduce heat to medium and cook until the lentils are tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain the lentils and set aside.

Heat oil in another large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, under tender and lightly brown, 4-5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cumin, stirring until aromatic, about 1 minutes.

Stir in 1 cup broth and spinach and bring to a boil. Stir in reserved lentils and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more broth and water to thin stew, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe.