This recipe right here is pretty much everything I love about cooking. It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s unassuming. It uses produce harvested from my backyard. It’s delicious. It’s cozy. It’s comforting. It’s quick enough for a weeknight dinner, but flavorful enough to serve at a holiday dinner party. This is my kind of food.
I have to be honest, I had these great intentions to stash my butternut squash for eating all winter long, but they have definitely been burning a hole in my pocket. I can’t resist using them! They are so good this year! We’ll be lucky if any of our squash even make it out Fall at this rate. Especially if I keep making this recipe, which is maybe one of my favorite ways to use winter squash ever. EVER!
Since this dish is so simple, it really pays to use the best quality ingredients you can get. Go ahead and grab that organic butternut squash from the farmer’s market. Harvest some fresh herbs. And make sure you use 100% authentic Basmati rice.
Basmati rice is kinda like champagne when it comes to the region—if it isn’t grown in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, it isn’t real Basmati rice. Thankfully, Royal brand imports authentic, high quality, all natural Basmati rice directly from India, and is available affordably at most major supermarkets.
Why Basmati? Well, if you’ve never worked with it before, it’s a wonderful long grain rice that, unlike a lot of rice varieties, actually has a ton of flavor and aroma on its own. It’s nutty and sweet, and has a wonderful fluffy and light texture. You can get it in both white and brown, and both would add a nice layer of flavor to your favorite rice dishes.
Basmati rice is the predominant rice used in Indian cuisine, but it’s nutty flavor and fluffy texture is flexible and can be used almost anywhere rice or any other whole grain is called for in a recipe.
The one thing to remember when working with Basmati rice is that you need to give it a good bath before cooking. This kind of rice comes with a lot of starch, and if you don’t rinse it well before cooking, you’ll end up with sticky, gummy rice. A few quick laps around the pool is all you need to get light and fluffy grains.
I just fill up a small bowl with cold water, drop the rice in, and the swirl, swirl, swirl with my fingers. Then I drain using a mesh sieve, and repeat 2-3 more times, until the water looks mostly clear. Then, you cook it just like you would any other kind of rice.
I know we’re probably a little early to start talking about Thanksgiving recipes, but I want you to just put a little mental note in that beautiful brain of yours to keep this dish in consideration for your turkey day table.
It’s different from the normal Thanksgiving fare (at least, different from the stuff we serve in my family), but it’s got a ton of wonderful cozy, warm, autumnal flavors in it that will pair up beautifully with the rest of the holiday standards.
If you can’t get your hands on butternut squash, this would also be delicious with acorn or hubbard squash. Pumpkin would also be awesome. And if you’re totally out of squash, a sweet potato or two would even do in a pinch. Enjoy!