And the winner is…

Brown-Butter Orzo with Butternut Squash! And yes, boys and girls, it definitely is a winner!

It’s another recipe from the New York Times cooking section. A source I highly recommend for some pretty good recipes.

Yes, they have their fair share of Really?!? recipes – you know… the kind with ingredients you can only find in a mountain village outside of Machu Picchu on a Thursday afternoon after the first full moon – but the vast majority are recipes actual people can source and prepare.

This particular recipe hit all the right buttons – rich, flavorful, easy to prepare, and made with ingredients one can easily find in their pantry. Naturally, even though we both knew we had orzo in the house – we didn’t – and Victor ran down to the store while I started.

It’s a quick meal from start to finish.

Brown-Butter Orzo with Butternut Squash

adapted from the NY Times

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 2-pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • 3 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta

In a medium Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the foam subsides, the milk solids turn golden brown and it smells nutty and toasty, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add squash, rosemary, a large pinch of salt, the 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and the 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, and cook until squash is golden at the edges and begins to soften, 12 to 17 minutes.

Add stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in orzo and lemon zest. Cover the pan and simmer over medium-low heat until orzo is just tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 14 to 18 minutes, stirring once or twice. If the pan dries out before the orzo and squash are tender, add a splash or two of water.

Remove pan from heat and stir in Parmesan. Taste and add more salt if needed. Dollop with ricotta and sprinkle with more grated Parmesan and black pepper just before serving.

Simple and totally delicious! A perfect fall meal.