Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rubik's Cube risotto

On Saturday, the husband and I spun around town crossing things off our list. Boring things, mostly. Picking up medicine for the dog at the vet. Getting an oil change. Grocery shopping. I'd jotted down the ingredients for a recipe I wanted to try, fillet of sole wrapped in prosciutto and served with roasted butternut squash and parsnips.

But the day ended up being so busy that when it came time to make dinner, I didn't feel like fussing with all the root vegetables, which always require a bit of attention. I felt more interested in drinking a beer and watching "Mythbusters" with the husband than painstakingly peeling and chopping, and fretting over a new recipe. So I scrapped the original plan and instead pan-fried the fish with lemon and parsley, and served it alongside potatoes and steamed broccoli. A dinner straight out of my childhood.

The next night, I felt prepared to take on the vegetables, but I had no fish. Time to wing it, Hungry Dog style. I had the parsnips, which are homely on the outside but once peeled, reveal themselves to be a beautiful, snowy white. And I had a little butternut squash, the cutest thing you ever saw, about five inches tall and three inches wide at its, um, hips. Ridiculous. And I had some beets that had been waiting patiently in the vegetable bin for a few weeks. I began to envision a bright autumn risotto, with little squares of color running through the pale rice.

I peeled, diced, and roasted the veggies, and got started on the risotto. Usually I add white wine but all I could find was vermouth (where did that come from?) which did the trick. And I minced up some fresh rosemary to give it a woodsy flavor.

When the risotto was nearly done, I folded in the vegetables, which looked like teeny Rubik's Cube squares. The rice did not remain pristine white as I had hoped; once the beets and squash made their way in, it turned startling shade of pinkish orange. But it was still pretty, and it tasted good. Perhaps most importantly, it fit the mood I was in. Sometimes you feel like sticking to the plan and sometimes you don't. Often the best discoveries happen when you're short an ingredient, can't remember the exact measurements, or when, out of laziness, you divide one recipe into two.


  1. This is gorgeous. I love the photo of the roasted/roasting veggies. I can imagine the flavors of the sweet, woodsy root veggies with the creamy rice. Parmesan. There has to be parmesan too. YUM!

  2. It's like a bowl of fall leaves changing colors. What a beautiful way to celebrate the advent of autumn.

  3. Roasting root veggies gives them such a depth of flavor. I love the color of your risotto; you're right, sometimes substituting ingredients results in a better dish!

  4. I was a Rubik's cube for Halloween last year (I was scrambled - my boyfriend was solved). I am loving all of the beautiful colours in your risotto!

  5. Kate: thank you! Yes, lots of parmesan, a must for any risotto!

    Food Gal: that's what I thought, just like autumn leaves (if I lived somewhere where leaves changed!)

    Barbara: I agree, roasting root veggies makes all the difference, really concentrates the flavor.

    Megan: Great costumes--especially the two cubes in combination!

  6. Nice blog. The pic of the risotto is wonderful. Looks like you solved your photo problems! I can't wait to try this dish.

  7. oh my god! yum yum yumm!!! this looks insanely delicious! And I LOVE rootbeer, so im sure I'd love this cake! I'm so excited i found your blog! Its one of y new favorites! I'll be back often :)
    Mini Baker

  8. Gypsey Chef: Thank you! I'm improving with the photos, turning off the flash helped. Why it took me so long to figure that out I'll never know.

    Mini Baker: Thank you for stopping by! You should try the risotto and the cake. Hope you come back! :)