When Squash Attacks
What with all of my recent raving about butternut squash risotto, I decided it was about time for me to make my own version at home.
I had a crucial squash hanging around the kitchen, so the decision was simple. RISOTTO!! However, I never anticipated the squash attack of '07!
First, I tell you my BOSS recipe:
2 pounds diced Butternut squash
2 cups of chopped crimini mushrooms
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 tablespoon Minced garlic
2 1/2 cups Arborio rice
7 cups vegetable stock (more if needed)
1 1/2 cup Freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon Freshly-grated nutmeg
Salt --to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper --to taste
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper
-Peel the squash and remove seeds. I used a vegetable peeler (don't do that-see below). Cut into small 1/4-inch dice. Set aside.
-Heat the butter and oil together in a deep saucepan and saute the onions, red pepper, and garlic until soft but not browned.
-Add the squash and rice and continue to saute and stir for 2 to 3 minutes longer. -Add stock in 1/2-cup increments stirring until absorbed. Continue adding stock and stirring until rice is creamy on outside but has some texture to it.
-Stir in the mushrooms
-Gently stir in cheese, zest, nutmeg and correct seasoning with salt and pepper. -Serve immediately in warm bowls garnished with nutmeg, additional Parmesan and black pepper.
AND THEN MY HANDS STARTED FALLING OFF.
Ok, so not quite falling off, but I noticed my skin started tightening on my fingers and then peeling. It was wikked gross. I showed gerg. He asked "Did you wash your hands?" I had washed them several times, and yet, something was not right.
I really didn't care that much, and I wanted to eat the risotto! We ate our super delicious dinner, and afterwards, gerg decided to surf the ol' world wide web to see if my hand situation was legit.
LO AND BEHOLD!!! I AM NOT A UNIQUE SNOWFLAKE! OTHERS HAVE BEEN ATTACKED BY BUTTERNUT SQUASH.
"After cutting up some butternut squash for soup, I noticed that the skin on my left hand became dry and tight. What's going on?
No matter how much I wash my hand, it doesn't seem to alleviate the problem, so I don't think it's a residue. Lotion doesn't seem to help, either. I've noticed it before when cutting up butternut squash, but never thought too much about it. (It's not on my right hand, but I assume that's because I was holding it with my left hand and cutting with my right hand, so there wasn't as much contact.)"
CUCURBITA MOSCHATA DERMATITIS!!!
As noted above, I rokked a vegetable peeler to peel the butternut. Here's why you shouldn't do that, according to noted professional "MonkeySaltedNuts".
"I hope you are not using a vegetable peeler to peel your squash because that will release a lot of whatever the substance is. The fastest and easiest way to peel a butternut is with a large kitchen knife. First cut it in half where the bulb meets the shaft. This gives a good flat support surface. Also slice off the top. Next set the top half on its cut surface on a cutting board. Use the large kitchen knife to vertically cut strips of peel from the sides. I often cut maybe 12 strips. (prepping the bottom half is similar but more difficult because your knife has to follow a curved surface)."
TIPS: Make the BOSS risotto. Don't use a peeler.