|This is called tatsoi. Oishiikatta ne.|
It's been a great adventure, and a fun topic of conversation with my Japanese friends, who have helped me figure out how to cook these new vegetables. I still don't like the slimy mushrooms though, and I'm happy to pass them on to anyone who wants them.
Full disclosure: I admit, I'm still buying granola bars, senbei and pretzels.
In my pursuit of easy recipes using whole, unprocessed ingredients, I found a magazine over the summer in the US called Clean Eating, which subscribes to many of the principles that Michael Pollan outlines in his books. Trying new recipes keeps me from being bored in the kitchen, so I am always looking for something new to test on my family.
Well, this recipe from Clean Eating was a winner on all fronts. Tasty, easy to make, and good for you! I did need to substitute my local Japanese ingredients that were readily available rather than make it as written. So here is my version of an Italian favorite, risotto, taking a delicious detour through Japan.
Risotto with Kabocha and Edamame
Winter squash - I used 1/2 of a pretty big kabocha. I guess it was about 3-4 cups cubed. The original recipe calls for butternut squash.
1/2 cup Edamame, cooked and hulled
4 cups chicken broth
1 medium onion, diced
1 big clove of garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sage
1/4 cup parmesan
Step one: Cube and peel the squash. Toss the squash with a little olive oil or mist it. Season with salt and pepper if you like. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 425° until tender, about 25 minutes. Stir from time to time. It's ok if it gets a bit brown - that will help it hold together when mixed with the rice. Set aside.
Step two: Heat broth in a saucepan on the the stove and keep warm.
Step three: Saute onion in 1 T olive oil until a little soft, add garlic and saute for one minute more. Add rice and stir to coat with oil and veg.
Step four: Add 1/2 cup broth to rice mixture, stir until absorbed by rice. Continue adding in 1/2 cup increments. Check rice when you've added almost all the broth. Rice should be tender but firm, not chalky. Continue adding broth until you only have 1/2 cup left.
Step five: Add thyme, sage, edamame and cheese with last 1/2 cup of broth, stir until cheese melts. Gently fold in squash. Serve.
Vegans could make this with vegetable broth, and skip the parmesan. It was so creamy before the cheese was added, and it wasn't that much cheese to begin with.
Sorry, I don't have any photos. This was soooo good and was eaten very quickly. When I make it again, I'll post a photo. The box of arborio rice that I found was 1900¥ - about US$23. So I'll definitely be making this again and not wasting any of that arborio rice! Enjoy!