This is creaminess three ways. First, the natural starches in Arborio rice, locking in all of the amazing flavors of shallot and garlic. Then, the squash itself, a little sweet, delicate, and earthy. And lastly, the cashew cream, rich and decadent. The wine and thyme bring out the savory nuance of the but- ternut, and you know what, risotto doesn’t have to be difficult. Everything is pretty simple, but still really special. Like you.
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, or boiled for 20 minutes
- 3 pounds butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for baking sheet
- 1 cup thinly sliced shallot
- 10 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 11/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/3 cup dry white cooking wine
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 to 7 cups warm vegetable broth, purchased or homemade
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- First prepare the squash: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut the long part off of the round part and slice in half lengthwise. Now, cut the round part in half lengthwise and remove the seeds with a tablespoon. Line a rimmed baking sheet, lightly oil, and place the squash on it, cut side down. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork, but not completely mushy. Remove from the oven and let cool to the touch. Once cooled, peel off the skin and chop the pumpkin into bite-sized pieces.
- While the squash is cooking, make the cashew cream: Drain the cashews and place in a blender with 1 cup of the vegetable broth. Puree until smooth.
- In the meantime, start the risotto: Preheat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Sauté the shallot, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and red pepper flakes in the oil for about 7 minutes, stirring often so that it doesn’t burn. A slanted wooden spoon is the perfect tool for stirring. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Add the wine to deglaze the pot, then add the first cup of warm vegetable broth along with the salt. Stir until most of the water is absorbed. You don’t have to stir the entire time, just as frequently as you can.
- Continue adding veggie broth by the cupful, then stirring a few more times, until only a cup of broth is left. It should take about 45 minutes, and by this point your squash should be ready to add. When you’re at the last cup, add the prepared squash. When most of the liquid has absorbed, add the nutmeg and lemon juice. Stir in the cashew cream. Cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the salt.
- It’s now ready to serve!
If you’d like to add some crunch (and protein) to this risotto, roasted pumpkin seeds, toasted wal- nuts, or pine nuts would all be good choices. For some green, how about roasted Brussels sprouts or broccoli? You can roast them in the oven with the squash for about 15 minutes.
Excerpted from Veganomicon, 10th Anniversary Edition: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Copyright © 2017. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc