Los Angelinos have mad love for Lucques, and the woman behind it, Suzanne Goin. Open since 1998, the James Beard award-winning kitchen serves seasonal dishes, made from the local bounty of California’s produce, cheeses, seafood, and meats. Some friends took us there for lunch this summer, and we ate our fill of heirloom tomatoes, fresh burratta, and soft-shell crab. The restaurant itself is airy and cozy at the same time.
I recently checked out Goin’s cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Lucques from the library and I highly recommend it. It is divided by seasons, and I’ve already earmarked several dishes for this fall and winter. For our Sunday supper last night, I made her Winter Squash Risotto with Radicchio and Parmesan. I can’t tell you how delicious it was (just look at Greg’s face after the first bite). And the colors just jump off the plate…
Says Goin, “To make perfect risotto, really pay attention to what’s happening in the pan. As the risotto cooks, stir it with a wooden spoon in rhythmic movements. The rice should be constantly bubbling, drinking up the liquid as it cooks.”
Winter Squash Risotto with Radicchio and Parmesan
2 cups 1/2 inch diced Kabocha or Butternut Squash
2 tblsp extra-virgin-olive oil
1 tbspn thyme leaves
4 cups chicken stock
3 tblsp unsalted butter
1 cup diced white onion
2 pinches red pepper flakes
2 cups high-quality Arborio Rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup thinly sliced radicchio
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup sliced flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Toss the squash with 2 tblsp oil, 1 teaspoon thyme, salt and fresh pepper. Roast the squash on a baking sheet, stirring occasionally, until tender when pierced, about 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Bring the chicken stock plus 4 cups water to a boil, and turn off the heat.
3. Heat a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add 3 tblsp butter, and when it foams, add the onion, remaining 2 tsp thyme, red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper. Sauté 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until onion is translucent.
4. Stir in half the roasted squash, the rice, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the rice just begins to toast and the grains of the rice have a white dot at their center. Pour in the white wine, and once it has evaporated, quickly add 1 cup of the hot stock and stir continuously. When the stock has completely absorbed, begin adding the liquid in 1-cup batches, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon in a rhythmic back-and-forth motion. Wait for each batch of liquid to be absorbed before adding the next. (For me this process took about 30 minutes). It should neither be soupy nor dry; each grain of rice should be coated in a flavorful, starchy sauce.
5. When the rice is almost done, turn off the heat and stir in remaining squash. Let rest for 1 minute, then quickly stir in the radicchio, half the parmesan, and parsley. Spoon into shallow bowls and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.