Healthy Vegetarian Recipes

PUMPKIN RISOTTO

A great favorite in Northern Italy where pumpkin is eaten all year round, not just in the fall. Pumpkins vary enormously - the best ones to use are the smaller pie pumpkins otherwise use butternut squash.

 1 quart vegetable broth

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 shallots, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 1/2 cups risotto rice, such as vialone nano, carnaroli, or arborio

1/2 cup white wine

2 cups chopped pumpkin or butternut squash, about 8 oz.

a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

5 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 cups

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

     Put the broth in the saucepan. Heat until almost boiling, then reduce the heat until barely simmering to keep it hot. Heat the butter and oil in a deep skillet or heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 1-2 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and mix well. Add the rice and stir with the wooden spoon until the grains are well coated and glistening, about 1 minute. Pour in the wine and stir until it has been completely absorbed. Add 1 ladle of hot broth, the pumpkin or butternut squash, and parsley. Simmer, stirring until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue to add the broth at intervals and cook as before, until the liquid has been absorbed, the pumpkin is cooked, and the rice is tender but firm, about 18-20 minutes. Reserve the last ladle of broth. Add the reserved broth, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Remove from the heat, cover, and let rest for 2 minutes. Spoon into warm bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4

PASTA WITH ROASTED PUMPKIN AND SAGE, LEMON AND MOZZARELLA BUTTER

Tantalizing pockets of melting garlic butter flavored with herbs and cheese complement the succulent chunks of roast pumpkin. The flavoured butter is also brilliant for making garlic bread - it melts between the slices of bread to a deliciously moist and stretchy filling.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 lb. pumpkin or butternut squash

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

6 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, drained and chopped

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves, plus extra whole leaves, to serve

grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon

10 oz. dried pasta, such as fusilli bucati or cavatappi, about 5 cups

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

     Put the olive oil in a roasting pan and transfer to the oven for 5 minutes, until hot. Using a small, sharp knife, peel the pumpkin or squash, remove the seeds, and cut the flesh into cubes, about 1 inch. Add the cumin seeds to the hot oil in the roasting pan, then add the pumpkin or squash and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Roast in a preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, turning the pumpkin or squash from time to time until tender and golden. Put the mozzarella, butter, garlic, sage, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Work into a coarse paste. Transfer to a sheet of wax paper and roll into a cylinder. Chill for at least 20 minutes or until firm enough to slice. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add a good pinch of salt, then the pasta, and cook until al dente, according to the timings on the package. Drain the pasta and return it to the warm pan. Add the roasted pumpkin or squash. Slice or chop the mozzarella butter and add to the pasta. Toss, divide between 4 bowls or plates, top with sage leaves, and serve. Serves 4. Excerpted from "Easy Vegetarian" (Ryland Peters and Small; $16.95; 2007; www.rylandpeters.com)

  "Slim for Life" by Dr. Gillian McKeith (Plume/Penguin; 2008; $16) offers a 28-day plan for ultimate health and detoxing. Level 1 addresses bad eating habits (what you eat and when) and lifestyle concerns (Is stress making you fat? Then do something to lower stress levels in your life!). Level 2 is a 28 day meal-by-meal plan to cleanse the body and restore it to health. Level 3 is a two day detox plan full of cleansing fruits and vegetable juices. Try Dr. McKeith's fat-flush recipe on pages 86-87. Level 4 helps keep you on track if you fall into old eating habits. Tips in the book include: eating more mangos since they act as an internal deodorant, killing bad bacteria within the colon, drinking a warm cup of water before bedtime every day of the plan to quell stomach rumblings, making breakfast your biggest meal of the day and dinner the smallest, going to bed by 10:30 pm as your liver and gall bladder do most of their work at that time, eating more fennel which supresses appetite, opting for a fruit or root vegetable when you crave something sweet - the more you chew them, the sweeter they taste since the sugars contained in them are released. For more info, visit: www.drgillianmckeith.com