how to make a very pretty fall dinner

I am an EatingWell junkie.  I subscribe to the magazine and I use the website obsessively.  It makes me feel pleasantly psychotic to have all that exact serving size and calorie information available.  Otherwise, I pass snarky judgments on recipes.  ie “You have 2 sticks of butter.  I think you might be fattening.  But also chicken breasts!  So probably you’re just awesome.”
See, I don’t really like figuring out how many calories are in things.  Just tell me, please.

Anyway, blah blah blah.  This is a calorie appropriate dinner, typical of Chez Maggie:  it’s from EatingWell, it’s about 500 calories and it has bacon.

Katie asked for it, so here it is, recipes for the pretty dinner.

Butternut Squash Risotto
you need: 
3 cups of butternut squash chunks (2 cups big and haphazard and 1 cup nicely diced)
3 1/2 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of Arborio rice
5 oz of bacon, cooked and crumbled (and save the fat!)
2 Tbs chopped parsley

you do:
-optional extra credit – start by simmering away the squashy gut stuff in your broth for maximum squash flavor.  strain that stuff out before starting to ladle the broth into your rice.
-put the 2 cups of big-chunked squash with 2 1/2 cups of water in a sauce pan (big enough for all this squash, water and later, the broth).  bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes, then take off the heat and let it sit covered for another 5 minutes.  use an immersion blender to blend this up into a baby food type puree.  (or use a food processor)
-take 1/4 cup of this puree out of the pan and set aside.  then dump the broth in and put this over low heat.
-use another pot for the risotto making and start by heating up a bit of olive oil (maybe a bit of butter if you’re feeling crazy).  add the rice and cook it, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.
-add in the 1 cup of nicely diced raw squash bits, 2 1/2 cups of the puree/broth mixture and 1/8 tsp of salt.
-do the risotto thing:  stir until the liquid’s nearly gone, add more liquid.  repeat until the rice is cooked and you have that risotto-goo texture.  never stop stirring!  should take about a half an hour.
-if you actually want this to taste yummy and not just like plain butternut squash, i would add in about a cup of grated parmesan cheese once it’s all cooked up.  this is not a part of the EatingWell recipe, but would be my recommendation.
-plate it up and top with bacon bits and parsley.
without the cheese addition, this will make 4 servings of 447 calories each.  i was quite happy to have less than 1/4th of what we made for dinner and used the leftovers to make baked risotto cakes for later lunches. 

For maximum prettiness, serve with a spinach salad.
you need:
baby spinach
thinly sliced brown mushrooms
thinly sliced red onion
bacon crumbles (share some from your risotto ingredients)
Andie’s Maple Bacon vinaigrette*

*This wonderful dressing will last for lots more salad than just this dinner, so you’ll have more for another meal.

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4 Comments

Filed under Foodery

4 responses to “how to make a very pretty fall dinner

  1. This looks yummy! I’m the same way. I eschew cookbooks or food magazines with no nutritional information. Also, I hate when restaurants can’t provide nutritional information via their website or through an e-mail. I mean like big chain restaurants. You KNOW they have that info, so they should willingly share it. I figure if they won’t, then their food is highly suspicious. I understand that fine restaurants and small, locally owned restaurants might not have nutritional info. That’s fine. I won’t eschew them.

  2. katie

    yay! thanks for sharing. looks amazing.

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