Kabocha Squash Risotto gets an Eastern treatment with kimchi, scallions, a poached egg and more. A comforting meatless meal for the fall and winter seasons.
I’m quite aware that the holiday/Christmas ship is at full sails. For you, that might mean juggling decorating, gift shopping/hiding/wrapping, parties, travel and more. In food blogger land it means we’re balancing those same things while swimming through a sea of peppermint, gingerbread, cranberry and hot cocoa recipes.
Yes, recipe testing in December is indeed delicious. And while I have plenty of festive dishes on the way, before I dive deep into the holiday recipe abyss, I want to share one that, while not Christmas-y per se, speaks so well to our needs this time of year.
This Kabocha Squash Risotto is something I wish I had posted a little earlier in the year, before the Festivus frenzy had set in and when squash was still being revered….you know, like a week or two ago? But let’s not forget that squash is still very much in season and can provide the kind of warm, nourishing sustenance that we could use more of during the holiday bustle, especially when combined with stick-to-your-ribs risotto, right?
I think most of us have had squash risotto at some point, so I wanted to breathe some new life into it. My intention was to mingle the method and texture of traditional Italian risotto- with clean Eastern flavors, and kabocha squash seemed like the perfect bridge to join the gap between the two cultures.
Kabocha squash is a Japanese pumpkin, but with flavors similar to butternut or acorn squash, which often appear in Western recipes. In this Kabocha Squash Risotto, Mirin replaces traditional white wine in the beginning steps of cooking. After simmering gradually in vegetable broth, pureed Kabocha squash is stirred in, finished with a dash of soy sauce and a sprinkle of furikake seasoning. The finishing touches include more kabocha squash (this time in cubed form), a heaping spoonful of kimchi, a poached pasture raised egg and fresh scallions (or omit the egg to keep it plant-based).
The result is a Japanese-meets-Korean-meets-Italian deeply satisfying bowl of meatless goodness. One that will help you tackle the holiday grind with gusto.
I promise I’ll be back next time with something sweet and festive that will knock your fuzzy Christmas socks off. But until then, go make yourself something warm and cozy and reviving like this Kabocha Squash Risotto.
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Kabocha Squash Risotto with Kimchi and Poached Egg
- 2 cups kabocha squash cubed and roasted or steamed
- 4 cups “no-chicken” broth or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
For topping (optional):
- poached egg
Puree or mash 1 cup of kabocha squash, leaving the remaining cup cubed. Set aside
Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add rice and salt and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring.
Stir in mirin and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue to cook on medium-low, adding broth in ½-cup increments, stirring frequently after each addition, until most of the liquid is absorbed, before adding the next increment of broth. The risotto is done when no broth remains and the rice is creamy but al dente, about 25 to 35 minutes total.
Remove from the heat and stir in soy sauce and pureed kabocha squash
Divide equally into bowls and top with remaining cubed kabocha squash, a spoonful of kimchi, scallions and a poached egg.
If you prefer a hint of spice, you can stir some of the liquid from the kimchi directly into the risotto just before serving.