Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

Life in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

Getting out of ruts (culinary and otherwise…)



I have been in a couple of ruts lately. I haven’t been posting here as much as I would like, and we have been eating a lot of the same things for dinner. To kill a couple of proverbial birds*, I decided to spend some time looking through my cookbooks to find something interesting and post about one of my meals. Yay for setting and meeting goals, because I have three new recipes in the dinner rotation for this week and I am going to write about one of them right now.

Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale

This recipe comes from Annie Somerville’s Everyday Greens. It is one of the companion cookbooks to Greens Restaurant in San Francisco. Greens is one of my favorite places to eat and when we lived in SF, it was our go-to place for special occasions. The menu is all vegetarian, and the food is some of the most amazing I have ever eaten. Now that we no longer live in SF, I own all three of the restaurant’s cookbooks and enjoy re-creating favorite dishes at home. I like Everyday Greens best because it is the most accessible to home cooks: the recipes are a bit less complex and more streamilined.

Gist and I went to the Chelmsford Agway’s winter farmers market yesterday morning and we were able to get all of the produce for this recipe – butternut squash, kale, collards, leeks – from the lovely folks at Jones Farm.

The recipe is a pretty standard one for risotto. You blanch the kale and roast the squash…


Sauté the leeks and toast the rice…


Then add wine and broth and stir, stir, stir. Once four cups of broth have been absorbed, some wine and the veggies are added…

Then you just continue to add broth and stir, stir, stir until the risotto is done.

All that’s left to do is shake out your stirring arm and enjoy the risotto.

Another thing that I loved about this recipe is that there is a suggested recipe that uses up the leftovers. That led to us having Butternut Squash Risotto Cakes as part of our Sunday brunch.

Eggs, flour, cheese, and thyme were added to the leftover risotto, the batter was made into cakes and fried…

And we had a tasty brunch dish to enjoy (and fewer leftovers!)

Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale
From Everyday Greens by Annie Somerville
Serves 6 generously

Vegetable stock, 7 to 8 cups
1 small butternut squash, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes, about 2 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Salt and pepper
1⁄2 bunch of kale, stems removed – about 2 cups packed leaves – I used a mix of kale and collards
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium leeks, white parts only, cut in half lengthwise, sliced and washed, about 3 cups
1 1⁄2 cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice
1⁄2 cup white wine
A pinch or two of freshly grated nutmeg
2 ounces of Fontina cheese, grated, about 1⁄2 cup
1⁄2 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated, 2 to 3 tablespoons, plus more to garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Toss the squash in a baking dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, half of the garlic, 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt lightly. Drop in the kale and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and when cool, squeeze out any excess moisture. Coarsely chop the kale and set aside.

4. Heat the butter and remaining oil in a large sauté pan and add the leeks, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook over medium heat until the leeks begin to soften, about 2 minutes; add the remaining garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the rice and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring gently, allowing the rice to absorb each cup after adding more.

5. After the rice has absorbed 4 cups of stock, stir in the wine, the squash, and the kale. Lower the heat to medium low and cook, continuing to add the stock 1 cup at a time, until the rice is tender and the squash is beginning to break down. The grains should be a little toothy and the risotto quite saucy. Add a pinch of nutmeg, and stir in the cheeses. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Serve in warm bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Butternut Squash Risotto Griddle Cakes
From Everyday Greens by Annie Somerville

2 cups leftover risotto
2 large eggs, separated
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 ounces Fontina cheese, grated, about 1/2 cup
1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated, 2 to 3 tablespoons
Salt & pepper
Vegetable oil for pan

1. Place the risotto in a large bowl and combine with the egg yolks, flour, thyme, and cheeses.

2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt till soft peaks are formed.

3. Gently fold the whites into the mixture and taste for salt and pepper.

4. Heat a well oiled skillet or griddle over medium-high heat, and spoon the batter on, allowing about 1/4 cup per cake.

5. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, till the cakes are golden and puffed. Add fresh oil to the pan between batches of cakes.

*I also used my “real”camera to take most of these pictures, I have been only using my phone for such a long time.


3 thoughts on “Getting out of ruts (culinary and otherwise…)

  1. It looks wonderful. — and bacon, to boot!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe.
    BTW, is that a 13 inch pan you’re using? I see a lot of surface area. I have an All Clad that looks similar.

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