Date night recipes for you and your sweetie

Being a parent is many things; rewarding, challenging, joyful, eye-opening, mind-boggling, amusing, at times terrifying… but perhaps one of the biggest challenges of all is the ability to step back from the mayhem and take some much needed “ME” time. We’ve decided to dedicate this series of recipe posts to Mum + Dad and an old fashioned “date night”.

Date Night Recipes for Sweethearts

Today’s recipe is from the first edition of the Madeit recipe-zine and comes from the kitchen of Madeit seller Curious Lama. I made this recipe for the first time a few weeks ago and it’s already at the top of our favourites list. It takes a bit of preparation time to roast the pumpkin, but is easy to make and has turned out perfectly for me three times in a row.
Vegetarian Recipes Butternut + Feta Risotto
The recipe serves 2, and takes approx. 25 minutes to prepare. For those of you who are worried about the fat content, you’ll be as overjoyed as I was to discover “Josephine’s Danish Style Reduced Fat Feta“. It’s delicious, you can buy it at Coles and it has only 3g of fat per 100g {normal feta has around 15-20g}. You can also substitute the butter for olive oil with minimum difference in taste.

Butternut Pumpkin and Feta Risotto

Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • butternut pumpkin – half a small one, peeled & cubed
  • 500ml (2 cups) vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 finely chopped small onion
  • 135g (2/3 cup) risotto rice
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons parsley – finely chopped
  • 60g feta cheese – (handful) crumbled
  • parmesan cheese – freshly grated

Recipe Instructions

  1. Turn the oven to 200°C. Put the olive oil in a roasting tin with the garlic, thyme & butternut pumpkin. Coat everything with oil & season well.
  2. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes, turn everything over once. Once cooked take the garlic out of its papery skin but leave it whole & throw away the thyme. (Handy hint: whilst this is roasting, complete steps 3 & 4 of the recipe).
  3. Heat the stock in a saucepan until it is simmering, then leave it over a low heat. Melt the butter in a large, deep, heavy-based frying pan, then gently cook the onion until it is soft, but not browned. Add the rice, reduce the heat to low & stir well to coat all the grains of rice in the butter.
  4. Add the wine to the rice, turn up the heat to medium & cook, stirring the rice, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Add the hot stock, a couple of ladles at a time, stirring continuously so that the rice cooks evenly & releases some of it starch. This is what gives the risotto a creamy consistency.
  6. Once all the stock is added, taste the rice to see if it is al dente. It is impossible to gauge the exact amount of liquid you will need as every risotto will be a little different. If the rice is not yet cooked & you have run out of stock, use water.
  7. Stop cooking the rice as soon as it is soft but still has a little texture or bite in the middle of the grain. Taste the risotto & add seasoning if it needs it.
  8. Stir in the butternut pumpkin, garlic, parsley & feta, squashing the vegetables slightly as you stir. Serve with grated parmesan.

Serving Suggestions
The wine I chose to accompany this dish was an Evans & Tate Classic Dry White from the Margaret River {my all time favourite wine region}. You can pick it up for around $15 per bottle and it works well both in the dish, and to serve with dinner. We finished the night off with hazelnut gelato for dessert from our local Gelateria… pure heaven!

CompetitionWant to win a copy of the Madeit recipe-zine? Simply tweet about this recipe using the TWEET button above or add it to your facebook page {and then post the link in the comments section below}. We’ll choose 5 lucky winners next Wednesday 21 April 2010, and send them a copy in the post!

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