Gorgeous Risotto

…Did I just call my risotto gorgeous? Yeah, I did. And for good reason too! This butternut squash risotto wasn’t only a delight to the palette, but very pleasing to the eye as well.

This creamy butternut squash risotto contained walnuts, goat cheese, raisins, dried apricots, portobello mushrooms, and fresh sage, among other things. All together in one dish? Bliss on my tongue. It was my first time making risotto, and I was pleased with the results! And it went perfect with a fresh loaf of olive oil, rosemary, and sea salt bread.

Come…into…my…mouth, you gorgeous thing, you. Yeah. Okay, I’m weird.;)

Oh, the scents radiating through my home that day was half of the reward in itself!

My cousin and his wife and kids were to come over for dinner that night, and I thought, what a better dish than a staple made at our Italian family gatherings when we were growing up. Kind of brought up a bit of nostalgia. :’) Not only that, it was such a perfect and warm dish for the stormy blizzard weather outside. This was all around a great one-pot dish to serve a family.

One of the things I’ve vastly come to appreciate is the presentation of beautiful food. The beauty in food is half of the enjoyment that comes from food. Our eyes gaze on the colours and combinations, and we can’t help but look at it with appreciation. I wasn’t at all like that before. I didn’t really care or appreciate these things, because I didn’t see the meaning behind it all. But now I do. Boy, do I ever! I love, love, love the beauty in food. And it’s because I love, love, love the Creator of that food.

Food is something we’ve been given to appreciate and receive joy from.

And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. Ecclesiastes 3:13

God wants us to experience joy! And you know why? Because He’s a God full of joy.

The LORD your God among you is powerful— he will save and he will take joyful delight in you. In his love he will renew you with his love; he will celebrate with singing because of you. Zephaniah 3:17

We have a God full of joy and abounding in pleasures!

God knew what He was doing when he created the abundance of beauty, tastes, and nutrients in foods that we have been given. Food is not only meant to sustain, but to heal our bodies. Food is not only meant to fill us, but food is meant to please us as well. We’re not only meant to receive food, but to give as well. It connects people together. Some of the greatest joys in human life revolve around food, and it was by no coincidence. God is a pleasing God who is full of joy, love, and great abundance. He’s not a boring God like so many might think.

He is exciting, thrilling, incredible, beautiful, and pleasing beyond measure.

All you have to do is look at the things He creates, and you can easily see who He is through His creation. Look at the sunset! Isn’t it glorious? It is stunning artwork before your eyes. Bite into a juicy, ripe peach on a warm, sunny day and taste its refreshing, delicious flavor that is so pleasing to the tongue. Look out at the colours from a cliff on a fall day, and bask in the majesty of it all. Feel the cool raindrops on your face and look out at the sky to see a bright rainbow.

I’m sure lots of wonderful thoughts about who God is will come to your mind if you open your eyes and your heart to see it. It does to mine, every day.

So making this risotto, I’d have to say the beauty in its presentation was my greatest reward. It’s just so pretty! Take a look.

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I swear, my eyes are turning into the shape of hearts as we speak. Look at all of those beautiful whole and natural ingredients. Look at the vibrant colours! My heart swells when I look at this. Because I’m connected to the God who created this, and I love Him more than life. I see this as a reflection of Him and I’m in awe.

People so easily take for granted the beauties of this earth. It has become common, and I find that to be a great tragedy, because it is anything but. One of my deepest passions to the core of my heart is to reverse the commonality of the endless beauty and make the Creator and His splendor known. 

I loved making this recipe, and I definitely plan on making it again. It was a one-pot wonder dish – the kind you throw everything in the pot raw and uncooked, along with the water, and the result is a creamy, delicious dish.

Having my cousin and his family over for dinner was such an incredible, intimate, and special time. In the past, I’ve veered away from inviting people over for gatherings and dinner parties because my apartment is oh so tiny! But I have come to realize that I care more about opening my home up for people and good times than I do about a small space. And really, the closer the better, right?

So I laid out a beautiful spread of risotto, along with my favourite olive oil, thyme, sea salt artisan bread, and some red wine that they had brought over. With the candles lit, it was such a wonderful atmosphere to enjoy each others company and share our lives together.

Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works. Ecclesiastes 9:7

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This dish turned out lightly sweet with a sour touch and earthy undertones; the goat cheese balanced out the flavours together very well.

In case anyone would like to make this amazing dish, here is the recipe:

  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh orzo, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tbs. honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 portobello mushroom, diced
  • Goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots

Bake the squash first, then peel and cube. Combine in the pot your squash, 4 cups of water, orzo, honey, shallot, apple cider vinegar, salt, sage, thyme, and mushroom. Bring to boil over high heat, and reduce to simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring frequently. Add water if necessary (if you need more moisture). Once creamy and thick and water has boiled off, take off of heat and add your apricots and goat cheese! This recipe was used from topateyourplate.com.

Bada bing, bada boom. Deliciousness in one-pot and pretty to serve.

Delicious Find: Pear with Gorgonzola Cheese Wrapped in Prosciutto

The other night, I went out dining with a beautiful friend of mine in Little Italy. This is our second dining experience together in Little Italy. A mission is stirring inside of me to try every Italian restaurant in that neighborhood!

She let me choose the place, and after spending a half hour (yes, a half hour) looking at all the different places and reading reviews, I decided on Allegro Ristorante. Upon walking up to the restaurant, excitement welled up within me – it is so cute. It looks like an old house and it’s full of twinkling lights. The atmosphere is beautiful and dim and perfect for conversation with someone special.

I’m so thankful for good friends, good food, and a sip of wine to top it off. Laughing, sharing our lives, drinking wine, eating really good pasta…these are some of the beautiful moments in life to cherish.

And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sunEcclesiastes 8:15

These kinds of moments are snapshots of pure goodness that could only come from the only One who is truly good and gives all good things.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

This was a good night, and I can’t help but thank God for beautiful nights as these.

So…I’m not going to lie, I chose this place because right off the bat, they mention homemade gnocchi on their website. To me, it’s not a real Italian restaurant if gnocchi isn’t on the menu. Virtually every time I hit up an Italian restaurant and gnocchi is on the menu, I have to get it. It’s my all-time favourite dish!

However, while looking at the menu, something else caught my eye and made my mouth water. An appetizer of sliced pears with gorgonzola cheese, wrapped in prosciutto. Yum. So if the pasta and my 10-year port wine wasn’t enough, I decided to splurge and get the appetizer to share with my friend.

I couldn’t resist.

And it was ridiculously delicious. I mean, delicious.

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It was half-eaten by the time I pulled out my camera to get a picture. 🙂 This is the kind of thing that so excites me. New and awesome inspiring food ideas that I could make at home. And, I will be experiencing this again.