If you are impatient like me, feel free to skip the story and go right to the recipe.
LOL likes to say that on the produce train that is coming up all the way from Southern CA, Upper Michigan (where our other home is) gets what is left after Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Now that we are at the produce motherlode, we are enjoying our share of fresh, high quality produce here in San Diego. This city is amazing for farm fresh produce and so is my garden! Of late, with my garden doing so well, a lot of my recipes use homegrown produce.
But occasionally, I love to hit the farmers’ markets here. Based on excellent reviews and my commitment to co-ops, I went to Ocean Beach People’s Market a couple of weeks ago.
Lured by the name Tahitian squash, (love Tahitian pearls (hint, hint, present givers, take note) and dreaming of Tahitian cruise sometime in the future), I bought some. For some reason, my mind associates Tahiti with magic. When I researched it, I discovered that it is a heirloom cousin of butternut squash (which we love here) and keeps longer than even butternut squash. More points to that. I tend to go overboard with produce shopping and so ones that keep well do better in my house. This squash is best not refrigerated because when chilled its sugars turn into starch. It is filled with beta carotene and anti cancer properties, both of which are very good for me. You too! The produce sheet claims that its texture is more like spaghetti squash, which all Paleo folks love, but I am yet to try that option.
- 1/3 Tahitian squash, cubed (substitute with butternut, acorn squash or even pumpkin if you are a pumpkin fan: In India, you can still use Indian style pumpkin but you will need to add more butter)
- Minced onions, 1/4 cup
- Chopped green beans, 1/2 cup (I liked it, but next time, I would use asparagus instead, you can also use mushroom)
- Butter: 2 tbsp
- Almond milk: 1 1/2 cups
- Farro: 1/2 cup
- Steelcut oats: 1/2 cup
- Grated Parmesan cheese: 1/4 cup (substitute with vegan cheese if you like: here is a recipe for an awesome Parmesan substitute that you can make. I could go totally vegan except for my addiction to yogurt, butter, and ghee)
- Salt: to taste
- Pepper: to taste
- Cook the squash either in the pressure cooker or a pot. I love my pressure cooker and use it for everything.
- Do not drain the water.
- Puree/mash squash with food processor or potato masher. I used my wooden Mathu (one that we Indians use to make butter milk, but I use it as a potato masher). I prefer to use it than clean the food processor equipment! With the water it got cooked in, the consistency should be soupish.
- Pour the almond milk in the mashed squash liquid. Now it should resemble stock in consistency.
- Add salt to your taste in the stock. Don’t over do it or even avoid it and you can add at the table.
- Heat pan to medium-high
- Melt butter
- Stirfry the onion until it carmelizes and turns brown.
- Now add the green beans or asparagus or mushrooms and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes. You don’t want it super cooked
- Add the farro and steel cut oats and stirfry to coat with melted butter
- Lower the flame to low or simmer high.
- Now add the squash stock by ladleful (I used icecream scoop, actually!) and stir the mixture. Wait for the stock to get absorbed and add another scoop/spoonful and stir. If you have made risotto, you know the process. Keep adding spoonfuls and stirring until all the stock has been absorbed. Shake your hand once in a while if its get tired.
- When all stock is gone and the farro/steel cut oats are cooked (this should take about fifteen to twenty minutes), add the grated parmesan cheese and pepper and stir.
- Serve with a salad for a meal or as an appetizer portion. Enjoy!
- If you are a meat-eater, I am pretty sure that chicken will be a good addition to this risotto. But seriously, go vegetarian, one dish at at time at least!