Photo: Adrienne Harris
Photo: Adrienne Harris

Recipe: Brooklyn Cafe’s squash risotto

I’ve enjoyed every appetizer and entree I’ve ever had at Brooklyn Cafe in Sandy Springs. I recently had one of their specials, a risotto with butternut squash served with scallops and shrimp. Could you get them to share the recipe and persuade them to add it to their regular menu? Your column is the highlight of the weekly Food section! Many thanks! — Laura Thwaite, Marietta

Brooklyn Cafe’s partners Jeff Trump and Michael Horosh sent their recipe with a note that the dish will again appear as a special this month. For the red wine used to marinate the butternut squash, they suggest a merlot works well.

To get tender rice with this amount of stock, they recommend you cook the rice slowly so the liquid doesn’t cook off before the rice is done. If your heat is too high, you may need a little more stock to get the rice tender.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Seared Scallops and Shrimp

1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1 1/2-inch-by-1 1/2-inch squares

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup light brown sugar

Salt and pepper

9 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 cup Arborio rice

1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 minced clove garlic

2 cups warm chicken stock, divided

1 cup heavy cream

12 large sea scallops

12 extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup shredded Pecorino

Chopped parsley, for garnish

Put squash into a medium bowl and cover with red wine. Allow to sit one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Drain squash, discarding remaining wine, and toss squash with sugar and generous amounts of salt and pepper. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until squash is tender and caramelized. Do not overcook as it will continue cooking in risotto. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter over medium heat and add onion and garlic. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in rice and 1 cup chicken stock. Stir rice frequently until half the liquid is absorbed. Add remaining stock and continue stirring and cooking until rice is tender. Risotto may be made ahead up to this point.

When ready to serve, in a large saucepan, warm risotto and cream. When cream has been absorbed, taste for seasoning, remembering that the Pecorino will add a good bit of salt. Add the cooked butternut and keep mixture warm. The risotto should be creamy so that when put onto the plates it spreads evenly and does not clump.

In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter over high heat. Make sure scallops are dry and remove the small opaque muscle that usually is attached to each scallop. Lightly season one side of the scallops and place seasoned side down in hot skillet. Sear for 2 minutes or until browned, then turn and cook the other side. Remove scallops from skillet and keep warm. Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Lightly season one side of the shrimp and placed seasoned side down in skillet. Sear 2 minutes and turn. Cook 2 minutes.

Divide risotto mixture between 4 serving plates. Top each serving with 3 scallops and 3 shrimp. Sprinkle with pecorino and chopped parsley and serve immediately. Serves: 4

Per serving: 941 calories (percent of calories from fat, 54), 33 grams protein, 73 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 55 grams fat (33 grams saturated), 309 milligrams cholesterol, 1,481 milligrams sodium.

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