Whenever I'm enjoying a bit of self-pity, I make butternut squash risotto. The classic pairing of empty starch with generous quantities of fat make it an ideal comfort food. Already this fall, I've eaten it three times.
This recipe, culled from a Williams-Sonoma autumn catalog, taught me how to cook risotto from scratch. It taught me how to caramelize onions. It taught me how to deglaze a pan with white wine. It made me love sage. This risotto was the first food I ever made that tasted good enough to serve in a restaurant. Enamored, I made it every week for months until my husband grew to hate butternut squash (more for me, fool).
This recipe is easily veganized: substitute vegan margarine for butter and omit the cheese.
I typically use dried herbs at a ratio of 1 tablespoon fresh : 1 teaspoon dried.
One large yellow onion should yield 2/3 cup caramelized onions: slice into thin half moons and stir frequently in a bit of oil or margarine over low heat until sweet and browned, 15-20 minutes. Add a teensy bit of brown sugar if you choose.
Of course, the best part of making risotto is polishing off the wine remaining after you've deglazed the pan. If you're going to stand at the stove stirring non-stop for 30 minutes, you might as well keep it interesting, right?