Aji Panca Butternut Squash Risotto
- 1 butternut squash (2 to 3 pounds) peeled, seeded, cut into 1/4” dice
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
- 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, divided, or to taste
- 6 to 7 cups Imagine No-Chicken Broth
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 to 2 chopped, seeded, rehydrated Aji Panca chiles (take the seeds out while still dry and then soak in water overnight)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- Set a rack in upper third part of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the butternut squash on baking sheet, drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with the 1 teaspoon of the salt and toss. Place in the oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked and very soft. Scrape onto a bowl and set aside.
- Pour the no-chicken broth into a saucepan set over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low.
- While your both comes to a simmer, combine the mascarpone cheese with the maple syrup in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Before moving on, be ready with your roasted butternut squash and chicken broth that should be at a low simmer, if need be, raise heat to medium.
- Heat ¼ cup olive oil in an extended casserole or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and ½ teaspoon of the salt, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until softened and wilted. Pour in the water and continue to cook and stir until the water has completely evaporated, the onions have become even softer, and they begin to glisten with the oil.
- Incorporate the rice and stir well to combine with the vegetables and coat in the oil. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, stir, and cook 3 to 4 minutes. The rice should start to smell toasty, but it shouldn’t brown.
- Pour in the wine, stir, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more until it completely evaporates, then immediately add a large ladleful of the simmering broth. Cook at a simmer until it is absorbed and you can see the bottom of the casserole when you stir.
- Add the next ladle of broth, along with about a fourth of the roasted butternut squash, simmer and cook until the liquid is absorbed again. Repeat 3 more times, adding another ladle of broth and a fourth of the squash each time, until all the squash has been added. Add the chopped Aji Panca.
- Continue adding broth by the ladleful until the risotto is cooked al dente. Add a cup more broth and stir before you turn it off; it should be quite soupy, yet the broth should be thick.
- You may have used only 6 cups of the broth or all 7 cups, depending on the heat of your stovetop and the weather where you live. What matters is the rice is still al dente and the consistency still seems a little bit soupy.
- Turn off the heat, add the chopped parsley and the seasoned mascarpone cheese. Stir well to mix. Sprinkle on the grated parmesan and serve.
STAFF PICK – VIOLIFE by Kristy, Housewares Buyer
“Many people know this about me; I am … was a cheese junky. Cheese on pasta, cheese on sandwiches, cheese on crackers… you get the idea. Then one day my world changed, and I could no longer digest lactose or casein (milk sugar and protein). Oh, no! Now what?
I tried all kinds of alternatives, none of which satisfied me in the same way as “real” cheese, and none of them tasted too great either. I soon gave up, and while brushing a small tear from my eye, realized that my cheese-eating days were over.
Luckily, my despair was short-lived, as it appeared one day, at El Cerrito Natural Grocery – Violife! I couldn’t believe it! Finally, an alternative cheese that tasted like the real thing! No soy, no gluten, no funky aftertaste! This is a non-GMO plant-based cheese that has the same feel and consistency as “real” cheese, and the flavors are spot on. I put it to the test and ate it plain – fantastic! I melted it on a burger – beautiful!
If you’re vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, lactose intolerant, or if you just want to cut down on cholesterol, this may be a good choice for you. I could go on about how great these products are, but really, I think that it’s best that you try it yourself.”
Finger Limes also known as Caviar Limes, have juice vesicles that pop out like caviar when the finger lime is gently squeezed. I don’t know about you but many of us at The Natural Grocery love watching cooking shows and this Australian native keeps popping up as an exciting addition to many dishes. They have a burst of effervescent tangy lime flavor! It’s just like tobiko (flying fish roe) but plant based and citrus! We have added them to a few dishes pictured above. Caviar Limes are perfect anywhere you want to add acid!
These beauties are grown here in California by Edulis Gardens of San Luis Obispo County.
Try them with a Rainbow Carrot & Cabbage Coleslaw on Watermelon Radish Crostini, or Fishwise Certified Sole with Burrough Family Farms Almonds, Dried Aji Panca Chiles and Garlic, or with Petit Pot Vanilla Pudding topped with Fresh Passion Fruit.
Check out Earl’s Organics for further recipe suggestions.
How will you use them? Let us know.
This Swedish dried pea soup recipe, known as Ärtsoppa, has been served in Sweden since the middle ages! Traditionally it was served on Thursdays to get people ready for the Christian fast which would begin on Fridays. Even today it is still often served on Thursdays in schools and always in the army and the navy. Serve it with some delicious Acme Walnut Levain with Straus Lightly Salted Butter. Don’t forego the mustard, it really makes the dish!
- 2 cups dried yellow split peas
- 1 quarts Imagine No-Chicken Broth
- 1 pint water (add another pint for a looser soup)
- 1 finely chopped onions (2 cups)
- 2 large finely chopped celery ( 1 cup)
- 2 large finely chopped carrot (1 cup)
- ½ lb Llano Seco Lardon (bacon ends)*
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon grainy brown mustard
*for a delicious vegetarian version omit the bacon and add 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika after skimming off the foam in Step 4.
Steps to Make It
- Rinse and pick through 1 pound of dried yellow split peas.
- Fill a large pot with 1 quart of Imagine No-Chicken Broth and 1 quart of water.
- Add the peas, onions, carrots, celery, the bacon lardons and a fresh bay leaf.
- Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam, then cover pot and reduce to a simmer over low heat for 90 minutes. (if you are making a vegetarian version this is when you add the smoked paprika)
- Thirty minutes before serving, remove the meat. Chop the meat and return to pot.
- Season the soup with 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 15 more minutes.
- Serve, passing around grainy brown mustard to stir into the soup to taste.
Summer is still in full swing despite the kids heading back to school and it being “Faugust” here in the San Francisco Bay Area. When the peppers are nice and sweet it’s great to make this Italian style relish and have it on hand. Traditionally it is made with tomatoes and basil but Laura omits these in her recipe and adds a little acid by using rice wine vinegar. You can use it on bruschetta, sandwiches, as a topping for fish or toss it with pasta. This little quick relish packs a flavorful punch!
- Prep time: 10 minutes
- Cook time: 10 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4 to 6
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded, sliced into 2 1/2 to 3-inch long strips
- 2 yellow bell peppers, seeded, sliced into 2 1/2 to 3-inch long strips
- 1 medium red onion, sliced into half-moons
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon cane sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- Lemon juice
1 Sauté the onions: Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions. Sprinkle with a little salt and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the onions just begin to color.
2 Add the peppers: Add the peppers and stir well to combine with the onions. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. The peppers should be al dente—cooked, but with a little crunch left in them.
3 Add the garlic, capers: Add the garlic and capers, and sauté another 1 minute.
4 Add sugar, oregano, rice wine vinegar: Add the sugar,dried oregano and rice wine vinegar. Cook 1 minute.
6 Add salt, black pepper, lemon juice: Turn off the heat and adjust your salt amount. Grind some black pepper over everything. Right before serving squeeze a little lemon juice over the dish.
Join us Friday July 12 from 5:30-8:30 in the Annex for art, music, food and wine.
To learn more about the event, please check out the EventBrite Page
Save the date for our bi-annual Grand Wine Tasting on May 19th from 2 pm to 5 pm!
All wines are produced without harsh chemicals or pesticides!
Tickets: $15 | Refunded if you purchase a case of wine (at 20% off) that day (Sunday, May 19) only!