Collard Green and Winter Squash Risotto
By Marsha Rose-Shulman; serves 6. The squash and collards can be cooked up to 3 days ahead.
1 1/2 pounds winter squash, such as butternut, banana, or hubbard, peeled, seeded and cut in 1/2 inch dice (about 2 cups diced squash); NOTE: I prefer to roast the squash first and then cut it into pieces—I find it faster and easier
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 bunch collard greens, about 1 pound, stemmed and washed
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock, or 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth and 1 quart water
1 small or 1/2 medium onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
Pinch of saffron (optional)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Toss the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and spread on the baking sheet in an even layer. Place in the oven, and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until tender and caramelized. Remove from the heat.
2. While the squash is roasting, blanch the collard greens. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the collard greens. Blanch for four minutes and transfer to the ice water with a slotted spoon or skimmer. Drain and squeeze out extra water. Chop coarsely, or cut in ribbons.
3. Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Heat the remaining oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick frying pan or a wide saucepan, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about three minutes, and add the garlic and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender and the garlic fragrant, about one minute, and add the rice. Cook, stirring, until the grains of rice are separate.
4. Stir in the wine, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. The wine should bubble but not too quickly. When the wine has just about evaporated, add the collard greens, a third of the squash and the saffron. Stir in a ladleful or two of the simmering stock, enough to just cover the rice. The stock should bubble slowly. Cook, stirring often, until it is just about absorbed. Add another ladleful of the stock, and continue to cook in this fashion—not too fast and not too slowly, adding more stock when the rice is almost dry—until the rice is tender all the way through but still chewy, 20 to 25 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
5. Add the remaining roasted squash and another 1/2 cup of stock to the rice. Stir in the Parmesan and parsley, and remove from the heat. Add freshly ground pepper, taste one last time and adjust salt. The mixture should be creamy (add more stock if it is not). Serve right away in wide soup bowls or on plates, spreading the risotto in a thin layer rather than a mound.