Recipe: Seasonal Affective Risotto (butternut squash and leeks, mainly)  »

The yearly end of Daylight Savings Time puts me into a funk. I’m on the brink of another major depressive episode, and the only things keeping me going are Sadie (my cat companion), wine, and glitter.

Risotto takes a while to cook, it’s a good dish to make when you want to be brooding and pensive and listen to Bright Eyes’ Fevers and Mirrors. I made it with butternut squash and leeks and a bunch of random fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, and oregano) because those things came in my CSA box (so bourgey!). It lifted my mood enough to make me finally take a shower. Here’s how it went down.

Seasonal Affective Risotto


1 decent-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
6 cups vegetable broth
2 large leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional, but gives it a nice fall color and a cheesy flavor)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (if you have to pick just one, choose sage)
Salt and pepper


Preheat that oven to 400 degrees F. Put the squash on a baking sheet, and mix it up with two tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast it for 40 minutes, stirring when you remember.

Put the broth in a saucepan, heat it to a simmer, turn off the heat, and cover.

On medium-low, heat the remaining oil in another saucepan or wok or something big with some sort of sides. Throw those leeks in there, and saute until soft. I like to poke the spoon through the center of each leek slice so that the layers become kind of a cone, and then I laugh and ponder my existence.

Once the leeks are soft, add some garlic until it smells reeeeeeal nice. Pour the rice into the pan and stir for a minute or two. Then you want to add the wine:

Get one of these tiny bottles of crap white wine, and drink what you don’t use. You… might be sorry?

Stir some more until the wine is absorbed. Then you will add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring all the while. Every time you add some broth, stir until it’s absorbed before you add more. While you’re stirring, you’ll have plenty of time to think — about your nonexistent career path, your latest failed romantic endeavor, that time you farted at Burning Man. Then know that things can only go up from here.

Half an hour or so later, when all six cups of the broth are absorbed and you are all cried out, add the squash, nutritional yeast, and herbs, and cook until heated through. Add salt and pepper if you need to, but I don’t think you will. Take a deep breath, slap some bread on your plate, and smile for the first time in weeks.

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