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Photo: Antonis Achilleos

Braised Pine Nuts with Butternut Squash

In this risotto-like dish, the pressure cooker's intense heat penetrates the pine nuts' outer membranes and makes them soft inside.

Food & Wine MAY 2011

  • Yield: 4 first-course servings
  • Total: 1 Hour, 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (2 1/4 pounds) small butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) Italian pine nuts
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pinch of saffron threads
  • Finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350°. Peel and slice the butternut squash 1/2 inch thick; spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast until tender but not browned, 45 minutes. Meanwhile, spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast until golden, 4 minutes.

Transfer the squash to a food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside 1 cup of the puree and reserve the rest for another use.

Heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pressure cooker. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 4 minutes. Add the pine nuts and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and boil until reduced to 2 tablespoons, 5 minutes. Add the broth. Cover and cook at 15 PSI (see Note) for 7 minutes. Place the pressure cooker in the sink and run cold water over the lid to depressurize it rapidly; remove the lid once it can be released without force.

Return the pressure cooker to medium heat, uncovered, and bring the contents to a boil. Allow the liquid to reduce until the pine nuts are suspended in a thick sauce, about 4 minutes. Stir in the reserved squash puree and saffron and cook until heated through. Stir in a tablespoon of water if the puree is too thick. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into bowls, garnish with orange zest and the cheese shavings and serve.

Note: Fifteen pounds per square inch (PSI) is the most common setting for pressure cookers. Products vary, however, so be sure to consult the owner's manual.
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Braised Pine Nuts with Butternut Squash Recipe

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