BUTTERNUT SQUASH ARANCINI
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, cut into a 1/4-inch dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded, and diced into 1/4- inch cubes (about 3 cups diced)
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
6-8 cups chicken stock or light vegetable stock (I like Imagine Organic) 2 cups arborio rice
1 bunch fresh sage, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 ounces goat cheese
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
Canola oil for frying
- In a heavy bottom saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté, 1 minute, until onion just begins to brown. Add the diced squash, salt, pepper, and white
wine. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat until squash is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
- While squash is cooking, heat the stock in a medium pot, keeping it at a low simmer.
- When the squash is tender, add the rice to the pan and stir until well coated. Stir in 1/2 cup stock and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is almost completely absorbed. Repeat with remaining stock, adding 1/2 cup at a time, about 15 minutes total. When the rice is creamy and tender, stir in sage leaves, lemon zest, butter, and parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove the risotto from the heat once it resembles a thick porridge. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread out in an even layer. Let cool, at least 20 minutes. Cover tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment. Scoop about 1/4 cup risotto into your hands and gently roll into a ball. Press between your palms to flatten. Place about a teaspoon of goat cheese in the center of the patty. Shape the risotto around the cheese and roll into a ball. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining risotto and cheese. If you’re not planning to fry them right away, arrange the arancini on a baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate until cooking, up to 2 or 3 days in advance.
- In a medium saucepan, heat about 2-inches of oil over medium heat until a thermometer registers 350 degrees.
- Pulse the panko in a food processor until finely ground and transfer to a shallow bowl. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place flour in another bowl and beat the eggs in a third bowl. Working with one arancini, roll it first in the flour, shaking off any excess, then in the egg, then in the panko. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining arancini.
- Carefully lower half the rice balls into the oil with a slotted spoon and fry until deeply golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining rice balls.
Yields: 18 to 20 aranciniCROSTINI WITH FIG JAM, BRIE, THYME, AND PICKLED CRANBERRIES
1 large baguette, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
Olive oil for brushing (about 5 tablespoons)
Kosher salt or sea salt for sprinkling
4 ounces brie cheese, thinly sliced
Fig jam (recipe below)
Pickled cranberries (recipe below)
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Fig jam (makes 1/2 pint jam):
6 ounces (about 20-22) dried mission figs, stems removed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, from 1/2 lemon
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems
1 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cups water
12 ounces fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise pods
Peel of 1 orange
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on a large sheet pan and lightly brush both sides of each slice with olive oil.
- Bake on the middle rack, 6 to 10 minutes, until lightly crisp and golden. Sprinkle toasts lightly with salt.
- To make the fig jam, place the figs, sugar, water, lemon juice, and thyme in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid has thickened slightly, about 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and cool the mixture for 10 minutes. Remove the thyme, transfer to a food processor, and process until smooth.
- To make the cranberries, bring the vinegar, water, sugar, and maple syrup to boil in a 4-quart saucepan over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Tie the peppercorns, star anise, and orange peel in cheesecloth and add to the saucepan with the cranberries. Cook until the cranberries begin to burst, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the cranberries with the cinnamon stick to a large mason jar, along with the spice packet. Allow to cool to room temperature, discard the spice packet, and seal the jar. Refrigerate for one to two days before serving.
Yields: 8 to 10 servings
SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD WITH PARMESAN AND POMEGRANATE
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey, or to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved and thinly sliced or shredded 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste
- In a medium bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper until combined. Add Brussels sprouts and toss until well coated. Allow to sit for about 20 minutes before serving.
- Fold in pomegranate seeds. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmigiano into strips. Garnish the salad before serving.
Yields: 8 to 10 servings