the appetizer:

The Science of Good Food by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim explains the mysteries of food and cooking. Check out topics like Caviar; Extracts; and Sweet Potatoes; plus recipes, including Acorn Squash Filled with Pumpkin Seed Risotto and Roasted Root Vegetables.



Acorn Squash Filled
with Pumpkin Seed Risotto

Makes 4 main-dish servings


As risotto cooks, starch from the rice sloughs into the simmering liquid thickening it into a sauce. In this elaborate side dish or vegetarian main dish, the risotto acts as a sauce and filling for the rice. Usually you need to serve risotto immediately, lest it solidify into a paste, but by baking it inside a squash the rice is kept tender and moist as it takes on the flavor of the baking vegetable.

  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup (250 mL) Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) white wine
  • 4-1/2 cups (1.125 L) vegetable broth
  • 4 acorn squash
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup (250 mL) canned small white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) toasted green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 4 minutes.

Add rice, and stir until coated with oil. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until wine has been absorbed. Add broth to the rice, 1/2 cup (125 mL) at a time, and cook, stirring often, until each addition of broth is absorbed before stirring in the next addition, until rice is al dente, with a creamy sauce developed throughout, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut a thin slice from the pointed ends of the acorn squash so that they can stand upright, slice off about 1/2 inch (1 cm) stem ends and save as lids, hollow out interior cavity, and discard seeds and wet pulp. Sprinkle inside of each squash with lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce and place in a baking dish just large enough to hold the squash snuggly. Set aside.

Stir beans, pumpkin seeds, sesame oil, and Parmesan into rice. Fill squash with risotto, and top each with a squash top "lid." Pour 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) water into the dish around the squash, cover loosely with foil, and bake in preheated oven, until squash are tender, for 45 minutes.

  • from:
    The Science of Good Food
    The Ultimate Reference Guide on How Cooking Works
  • by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim
  • with A. Philip Handel, Ph.D.
  • Robert Rose, Inc. 2008
  • $37.95; paperback; 576 pages; full-color photographs
  • ISBN-10: 0778801896
  • ISBN-13: 987-1-57965-351-4
  • Reprinted by permission.

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