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
Is stalking me.
It’s nothing I can prove.
I’m sure those
Aren’t “sweet” potatoes
That eye my every move.
Is a savage.
I think it wants my head.
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.
Is talking trash-
It’s mixed up really bad.,
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!