Mr. Markers works late and doesn’t get home until around 9:30pm on Thursdays, so I either make plans with girlfriends or tackle a recipe I’ve bookmarked to try. My sister is typically more than happy to be my official taste tester, as she gloats on the couch with her glass of wine.

I haven’t had any super strange cravings during this pregnancy, but I have wanted comfort food… all the time, comfort food. Last week, the dish was butternut squash risotto with fried sage.


(adapted from bon appetit)

Ingredients

  • 3 T. butter
  • 4 c. 1/2 inch cubes of butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
  • s + p
  • 6-8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. chopped shallots
  • 1 T. finely chopped sage
  • 1/2 tsp. finely chopped thyme
  • 2 c. arborio rice
  • 1/3 c. dry white wine
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 T. roughly chopped sage
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Directions

In a large skillet, melt butter. Add squash, sprinkle with sugar, salt and pepper. Saute for a few minutes, then cover until squash are tender, stirring occasionally. Uncover, saute until browned and caramelized but still holding shape. Remove from skillet, set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat chicken stock to a simmer.

In the same large skillet, heat oil and add shallots. Saute until edges are brown, add in sage and thyme. Add rice, saute until kernels are white with translucent edges. Add wine, stir until it evaporates.

Add 1 cup of broth, simmer until the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Continue adding 1 cup of broth at a time, simmering and stirring until the liquid is gone. After about 6 cups of broth have been added, test the rice - it should be tender (not crunchy) and the risotto will be creamy. If not, keep adding until you reach the desired consistency. The process will take 20-30 minutes.

When the rice is done, stir in the butternut squash and grated parmesan cheese. Before serving, top with fried sage and more parmesan.

For the fried sage: in a small sauce pan, heat the butter until bubbly. Add in the sage - fry for less than one minute, swirling the pan continuously, until the sage is crispy. Oour into a strainer or on a paper towel to remove excess butter.

*****

This menu was inspired by fall and this recipe that has been making the internet rounds: skillet squash mac n’ cheese.

(adapted from how sweet eats)

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. (4 cups) frozen cooked + pureed butternut squash
  • 3 c. pasta of choice (i used mostacioli rigata)
  • s + p
  • 1 tsp. dried rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 c. shredded monterrey jack-cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. skim milk
  • 3 T. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 T. fried sage (see recipe above)
  • 2 T. panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheese for topping (I used a mixture of mozzarella, asiago, fontina, parmesan)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the pasta accordingly. Add the frozen butternut squash to a cast-iron skillet (or other oven safe skillet). Cover, heat on low until heated through. Add salt, pepper, rubbed sage, nutmeg and garlic powder. Add in shredded cheese and parmesan cheese, skim milk and melted butter. Stir until you have a smooth consistency. If it seems too thick, add a bit more milk.

When the pasta is finished, add the pasta to the skillet and stir to combine. Make the fried sage (see above) and sprinkle over the pasta - this time i just poured the extra butter with it - your choice! Top with bread crumbs and additional shredded cheese.

Bake in the oven until heated through and cheese is melted. To get a crispy browned topping, broil on low for about 5 minutes.

Enjoy, try not to devour the entire skillet in one sitting.

Oh and because my pan was overflowing a bit and I thought it was cute, I made these two ramekins with the extras. Popped in the oven tomorrow for lunch, perfect!

And please don’t ask me to choose between these two dishes… I could never.