Risotto is just rice with a fancier zip code. Serve as a vegetarian meal or as a side-dish.  Can be made a week ahead and kept in the refrigerator.

Autumn Harvest Risotto (prep. time 1 hour -30 minutes to roast the vegetables, 30 minutes for risotto.  Serves 12)

1 acorn squash, cut in half and seeds removed

1 sweet potato, cut in half

2 C. Shitake and baby ‘bella mushrooms, sliced

1 ½ kale, ribs removed and cut into thin strips

2 cloves roasted garlic

salt, pepper

1 ½ C. Arborio rice

2 Tbl. olive oil

4 C. vegetable stock

1-2 C. shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350.  Place squash and potato on a sheet pan.  If roasting the garlic now, cut the pointed end off a head of garlic, place it in an aluminum foil square, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Drizzle the squash and potato halves (cut side up) with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast about ½ hour until still a little firm but fork can be inserted. Allow to cool. Pull the squash meat out of one half and dice into bite-sized  cubes.  Pull the skin off the sweet potato and cube into similar size at the squash.  Heat  the vegetable stock in a sauce pan until just simmering.  In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbl. olive oil and stir in the Arborio rice for a couple minutes to coat and lightly toast.  Spoon a ladle-full of stock into the rice, stirring constantly.  When the liquid is almost all absorbed, ladle more broth in and keep stirring.  Repeat until a couple ladles of broth are left and toss in the mushrooms and kale.  Keep stirring.  When the liquid in the pan is nearly absorbed, add the remaining broth and stir in the squash and sweet potato.  Stir until the liquid is almost all absorbed, remove from heat and stir in as much Parmesan as you like.

If made ahead, just microwave to reheat.  Keep some broth on hand to stir in if the risotto has gotten a little dry.