The Children’s Book that Inspired Me to Create this Risotto

Occasionally, you stumble across a treasure your busy life would have you overlook. This happened to me last week when hubby forced me into the doctor’s office to get my flu shot. Whaaat… a treasure in a doctor’s office? Yup. As I was waited to get jabbed, I glanced toward the counter and saw a display of books – something to distract from the fact of my being here.

Here’s the backstory. The only reason I had time to get that flu shot was I was supposed to take grandson, Sammy for his birthday shopping trip. But, he got the flu … kinda karma isn’t it? So there I was, sleeve rolled up and nothing to do but page through the literature in an antiseptic lobby.

I spied this book.  Its animated cover drew me in, as did its title, Puppydog Blues. I picked it up, flipped through the pages, and discovered the cutest collection of childhood poems

I have read in a very long time. Nostalgia and irreverent joy overcame me. The story was so very similar to books I’d read to Sammy when he was a baby, and felt blessed to still be reading my newest grandchild, baby Josh.

Take a gander at this sweet, impertinent and intelligently clever writing from Puppydog Blues, and read it to your little ones if you still have them.  This stanza is a particularly fun one for you foodies to nosh on. It inspired the butternut squash risotto I went home and made after my doc appointment.

Eat Your Vegetables

 

The broccoli

Is stalking me.

It’s nothing I can prove.

I’m sure those

Aren’t “sweet” potatoes

That eye my every move.

That cabbage

Is a savage.

I think it wants my head.

The lettuce

Vowed to get us

When I’m sleeping in my bed.

The corn has ears,

It snoops and hears

It’s gone starch-raving mad.

The succotash

Is talking trash-

It’s mixed up really bad.,

This smorgasbord

Is off its gourd!

So what’s a kid to do?

The message here

Is loud and clear

Eat your veggies or, I fear,

They’ll end up eating you!

 

The book is written by Marshall Silverman. For more information contact info@BookBaby.com. There are both a paperback and hardback edition of the book. I bought them both!

Now, for a weekly recipe. Keeping up with the theme of eating your veggies, here is my recipe for a tummy-filling risotto sweetened with chunks of butternut squash. Enjoy!

Risotto with Butternut Squash

serves 2 as a main and 6 as a side dish

20 minute cuisine

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ half red onion, peeled and diced, about ½ cup

½ medium butternut squash, peeled and diced into small chunks, about 2 cups

1 teaspoon Tuscan Spice blend*, optional 

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 cup arborio rice

¼ cup dry sherry

3 to 4 cups chicken broth

¼ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon butter

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the butternut squash. Sprinkle with Tuscan seasoning, salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes more. Add the rice and cook for 1 more minute to toast. Pour in the sherry and cook until the liquid disappears, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Pour in about 1 cup of the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid disappears, about 5 minutes. Add 1 more cup chicken broth. Continue until all the stock had been absorbed into the rice. The rice should be creamy with just a bit of a bite. You don’t want it to be mushy! Stir in the cream, butter and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with parsley.

* I am a big fan of The Spice and Tea Exchange stores. I seriously could spend a whole afternoon sniffing and smiling in their Blowing Rock store. The great news is that you can find some of the blends on-line. If you don’t have the time to find Tuscan spice, substitute with a bit of paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and cumin. Or…. choose any of your other favorite blends. It all works!