First Fall Effort in the Kitchen

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There’s a slight chill in the air, and I’m fixing to change up my cooking and move back inside from the grill. I figured tonight would be a good time to try out a new risotto idea. Actually, it’s only the second time I’ve tried to make risotto, so I didn’t have much to lose. I’m a huge butternut squash fan, too and the combination of the squash and sage sounded good.

The idea came into focus today after a message from my Aunt Dot on Facebook regarding kale chips. Not sure what got me thinking risotto and scallops, but that’s the direction I went. Aunt Dot, this meal is for you. I also had a great sous chef for a little while to help with the prep of the kale and measuring of chicken stock. Worth the effort right there.

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Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto with Pan Seared Scallops and Kale Chips:

2 small butternut squash
Cup or so of white wine (you’re the cook, you choose what kind!)
4 cups chicken stock
1 onion
clove or 2 of garlic
Sage
1 cup Arborio rice
1 head of kale
2 tablespoons of butter or so
1/3 cup grated fresh parm or hard cheese of choice (had some in fridge, go with what you’ve got)
8 sea scallops

Kale Chips:
Cookie pan lined with parchment paper
Dry each kale leaf and put on sheet. I actually brushed each leaf with olive oil, but spraying them with a little Pam is probably a boat load easier
Sprinkle with seasoning of choice (I went just salt)
Oven at 325 for about 10 minutes (watch them closely)
Lay on paper towel. Good when hot! They are very crispy

Butternut Squash:
All I did was cut them in half, take the seeds out and put them face down on a cookie sheet with a little olive oil. Oven at 400 for 20 minutes or so. Will certainly depend on how big your squash is. When you can poke it easily with a fork, you know it’s done.

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Risotto:
Ever make risotto? It’s a total pain in the ass, but this was certainly worth it. Great richness to it, flavors mixed well and it went perfectly with the scallops. Started with the onion and garlic with a little butter, as well as a few sage leaves and sweated it out for 5-7 minutes. Added the rice and mixed to get it all coated with butter…then let it cook for a few minutes. The edges of the rice began to brown slightly, so I knew it was time to add the wine. Can you smell the onion and the garlic and the sage as that deglazes? I let that soak in for a few minutes, then began the slow process of mixing in the chicken stock….one ladle at a time. This is what it looked like at the start:

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The end result was a beautiful color. My kitchen smelled….well, wow, just really good, you know?

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I knew as soon as the kale chips came out of the oven that I had to plate this up pretty well. The chips almost shout out “do something cool with me”. I felt like I was on Chopped and had to not only execute the meal, but present it well, too. At least I didn’t forget any ingredients.

The end result from a taste perspective was tremendous. The scallops were just pan seared with salt and pepper, hit them with a squeeze of lemon juice towards the end. About 6 minutes of so cook time. I always find scallops take patience. Wait for the browning to take place! The plating…well, not bad. Very pleased to report that this dish is a keeper.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. dottie monta says:

    Splendid, Rick, just splendid! Honestly, you could serve this to William and Catherine (of Cambridge, UK).

    1. Aw, thanks! Mia was quite pleased, so my audience of one was fed well. It was a truly delicious meal. Plus, both girls were at CCD so we had time to enjoy it!

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