Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chicago Farmstand Dinner

I wandered over to the new Chicago Farmstand late last week when I was downtown for a day of meetings. What a treat! An indoor farmstand full of organic and locally grown produce, baked goods, and canned products. I met the beekeeper for the garden on top of City Hall and sampled their "Rooftop Honey." There were lovely squash for sale, little potatoes, late summer lettuces and tomatoes, and even some fresh cheeses. I left with a bagful of produce and an idea for dinner.

Autumn Risotto

1 butternut squash*
3 leeks, halved and thinly sliced*
2 cloves garlic, minced*
2 cups arborio rice
6 cups chicken stock
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked off of the stems and lightly chopped*
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cream or half and half

*Available at the Chicago Farmstand

Peel the squash and dice into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss on a sheet pan with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in a 400-degree oven for 35 minute or until beginning to brown.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, saute the leeks in olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and saute until it becomes fragrant. Add the rice and saute until it is translucent. Add the chicken stock a little at a time, stirring and slowing cooking after each addition until most of the broth has been absorbed. When the rice is cooked but still al dente, add the roasted squash and the thyme. Add the cheese and stir until melted; add the cream until the risotto loosens up a little and is creamy and luscious. Serve immediately.

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