Thursday, February 11, 2010

Butternut Kale Risotto

I don't often have time to spend 20-30 minutes standing over a pot and stirring, but since yesterday was a snow day for the kids, I had nowhere to go.  After my workout shoveling the 6.5 inches of snow we got, I was craving something warm and creamy. So I came up with this simple yummy risotto. The butternut squash puree made it luxuriously rich and creamy.

Traditional risotto calls for alcohol, but alcohol is verboten in our house. I used vegetable broth instead. Contrary to popular myth, cooking does not remove all the alcohol from a dish. Here is a list of some of the alcohol content remaining in cooked food from the USDA.

-alcohol added to boiling liquid & removed from heat 85%

-alcohol flamed 75%
-unheated and stored overnight 70%
-baked, 25 minutes, alcohol not stirred into mixture 45%
-baked/simmered, with alcohol stirred into mixture:
15 minutes 40%
30 minutes 35%
1 hour 25%
1.5 hours 20%
2 hours 10%
If you are cooking for someone with allergies, or in alcohol recovery, it would make sense to inform them if you cook with it. For someone in recovery, aside from the remaining alcohol content,  the smell or taste alone could be a trigger to send them into relapse.
Alcohol is linked with a laundry list of health problems, including oral, breast, rectal and liver cancers as well as stroke.  The  Million Women Study  showed that even low to moderate consumption of alcohol increases breast cancer risk. In an accompanying editorial in the Journal of The National Cancer Institute, Michael Lauer M.D., and Paul Sorlie, Ph.D., of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, in Bethesda, M.D., stated  "From a standpoint of cancer risk, the message of this report could not be clearer. There is no level of alcohol consumption that can be considered safe".
I used my butternut puree in the risotto, found at the bottom of this page- butternut puree, but you could sub canned pumpkin. If you are vegan, just use olive oil in place of the butter.
Butternut Kale Risotto
1 T. organic butter
1 onion, finely diced
1 c. arborio rice
5-8 c. vegetable broth ( I used 4 c. broth and about 2 cups water)
1/2 c. butternut puree
1 c. chopped kale
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
black pepper to taste
hand full of toasted slivered almonds
Heat broth in saucepan and keep it at a low simmer. In a large saute pan, melt butter, add onion and saute till tender. Add rice and stir till white spots appear on grains, 2-3 min. Then add a ladle full of broth, cook and stir until it's absorbed. Continue to add hot broth, a ladle at a time and stir until it's absorbed. When it is about halfway cooked- about 10 min., add the butternut puree, kale, sage, and garlic. Continue to add broth, a ladle at a time and stir until it's absorbed, until rice is tender and creamy, but still has chew. Taste it to see if it is done to your liking. This took me about 20 min. total. Then add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and sprinkle with toasted slivered almonds.


5 Star Foodie February 11, 2010 at 2:22 PM  

An excellent quick risotto recipe and it sounds excellent with butternut squash and kale!

The Ordinary Vegetarian February 11, 2010 at 2:26 PM  

Well, if that isn't just perfect! I have all these ingredients, too!

Fayinagirl (means Free One) February 11, 2010 at 2:43 PM  

Great information on alcohol content of foods. Too many myths floating around.

The risotto looks delicious. I'm a fan of just about anything with kale. =)

Vegan Epicurean February 11, 2010 at 5:14 PM  


I make something similar with cubes of butternut squash, kale and barley in place of rice. The almonds are a very nice addition. I tend to reach for pine nuts but your idea of almonds would add more textural variation.

thanks for sharing,

Rose February 11, 2010 at 10:22 PM  

This sounds divine, delicious, and nutritious. Thanks for the recipe...I must try it soon. And, thanks for the info on alcohol.

Claudia February 12, 2010 at 11:35 AM  

Love the kale and squash in the risotto - delicious!

janet February 13, 2010 at 9:41 AM  

Thanks for all of the nice comments!

Alicia, barley sounds great, I would love to try that.

Matt (No Meat Athlete) February 14, 2010 at 7:51 PM  

Sounds delicious; butternut squash risotto is one of my favorite foods! The alcohol thing is interesting. It's funny how often we're told that "alcohol cooks off," end of story.

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