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Author Notes: This is one of those perfect lunch menus for a quiet grey day, when you need something light but fulfilling. The unusual ingredient-- apple cider instead of broth--, along with the natural sweetness of the squash threaten to turn it caramely-- but the garlic, sage and porcini mushrooms pull it back from the brink. It just works ;) —nogaga
Serves 4 as a first course
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 7-8 leaves of sage
- grey salt
- 1 pinch espelette pepper flakes
- 1 1/3 cups organic risotto rice
- about 5 cups slightly dilluted apple cider
- 1/2 ounce dried porcini, hand-crushed
- 1 medium sized acorn squash
- creamy but crumbly stilton cheese
- a few sprigs parsley
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the acorn squash into two equal halves leaving the pulp and seads inside, and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until the flesh is soft but not fully cooked. (I added nothing to it.)
- Gently heat dilluted cider into which you have crumbled the dried porcini muchrooms and some grey salt. Heat the oil in a medium sized pot, and add the very coarsely chopped garlic (you're looking almost to caramelize it into a garlic confit, so the oil shouldn't be too hot) and the coarsely chopped sage. Add a pinch of espelette pepper flakes.
- When the gralic starts to soften, add the rice and briskly mixto cover each grain in garlicky oil. Begin to add the porcini-infused apple cider, ladle by ladle, mixing the rice all along.
- Scoop the seeds out of your squash and peel it. Chop the flesh into even bite sized chucks and add the the risotto when you still have about two ladles to go before finishing.
- When the rice is al dente and the squash has been integrated, tunr off the heat, cover the pot and allow to steam and settle for about 5 minutes.
- Serve steaming hot with a small piece of stilton (to be mixed in and melted) and a sprig of parsley (or thyme.)