Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Inspiration - Butternut Squash Orzotto

while i may not be pumpkins biggest fan, i love butternut squash. it's amazing roasted with a little maple syrup and butter, velvety smooth and creamy in soup, and makes an excellent addition to risotto. along the lines of risotto, if you like this creamy arborio rice dish, you'll love this simillar pasta dish.

orzotto is orzo pasta prepared in the same slow-cooked way as risotto. the dish is easy but requires 20 minutes of constant stirring just like risotto. the addition of pureed roasted butternut squash sets this over the top. and parmesan cheese works surprisingly well by adding a slightly salty bite to this otherwise creamy dish.

if you don't have the time to dedicate to this dish on thanksgiving, i suggest using leftover butternut squash to make this dish sometime over thanksgiving weekend. you will not be dissapointed.

Butternut Squash Orzotto
(serves 5-6)

2 cups roasted butternut squash, pureed
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1 cup whole wheat orzo (or regular orzo)
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
dash of ground cayenne, optional
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

bring 3 cups of chicken broth to a simmer in medium sauce pan. reduce heat to low.

add butter and olive oil to deep skillet or dutch oven. add shallots and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes until tender. add salt and pepper and orzo pasta. stirring constantly, toast orzo for 1 minute. add white wine and continue stirring until most liquid has been absorbed. add chicken stock, one ladle at a time. continue to stir constantly adding more chicken stock only when previous stock has been mostly absorbed.

taste orzo when almost all of stock has been used to test for pasta doneness. when pasta is al dente, add butternut squash and salt and pepper to taste if needed. turn off heat and stir in parmesan cheese and cayenne.

serve immediately.

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