Spring Reset: Day 2

Vegetable Risotto with a Chickpea and Mushroom Ragu

I know what your thinking. “He couldn’t even make it one full day?” But let me let you in on a little secret. This was not your typical Risotto!

Without a doubt the most enjoyable characteristic of a good risotto is the creaminess. If made correctly and with a little patience, a true risotto can achieve starchy goodness from the broth, the rice, and the stirring alone. Adding cream is a bit of a no-no. But all of my favorite risottos are finished with one crucial ingredient: cheese! And dairy doesn’t exactly fit into my re-set. But don’t fret, because I think I’ve found a fantastic solution.

Beyond the creaminess that the cheese brings, the real nutty flavor of a good Parmigiano is what adds that finishing touch. And believe it or not, there is a vegetable we all know very well that can add these two characteristics. Squash of any kind (I used spaghetti but acorn would be delicious as well), when cooked in a broth and pureed ends up velvety and delicious. And while it may look like baby food at this point, adding about a cup of this pureed mixture to your standard risotto recipe in place of the cheese ends up being pretty awesome.

I loaded my risotto with asparagus, bok choy, red peppers, artichokes, and spring onions and topped it with a mushroom and chickpea ragu. And I’m thrilled I had some leftovers for today’s lunch! Day 2 is off to a good start!

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