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Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto

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Slightly sweet and nutty, this risotto recipe is one of my favorites. If butternut squash is in season, I always make sure I include this recipe when I teach a risotto class. People usually like it a lot!
Also, nowadays we hear a lot the concept “Meatless Monday”… I don’t necessarily cook vegetarian food every Monday, but I think that this is a great recipe for those who like the idea of eating without any kind of meat once a week or more. The reason why? This risotto is rich, decadent, and the cubed butternut squash have a meaty texture that replaces the meat texture well.
Finally, I want to encourage you to try making risotto the traditional way – which means standing next to the stove and stirring pretty much constantly for a perfect al dente rice texture. Believe me, it’s more fun than you think; especially when wine and friends are involved ;) Happy fall!

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Lime-Cilantro Rice with Corn and Jalapeno

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I made this rice several times during this summer. Every single time it has been an absolute hit! In fact, I created this recipe for a Fourth of July party, about a month ago, and it was so popular among the crowd that it kind of became my go-to side for barbeque parties during this last month. It so delicious that both my husband and I have reheated left-overs and ate as main course, instead of a side dish! Fresh, a bit sweet and tart, this rice is just a guaranteed success! I have wanted to post it so bad, but all the commitments related to the release of my cookbook have been keeping me away from the kitchen and from posting on my website. Finally I had time today to share it with you. Corn season is not over yet, neither are the summer parties… I hope you think about this recipe for your next summer party, or just at any time!

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Brazilian Black Beans

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I grew up eating the combination of black beans, rice, meat and a simple salad five times a week. Only on the weekends we would eat something “more special” (sodas were also only allowed on Sundays). For me, beans are part of the simplest and most comforting of all meals. When prepared with the added flavors of onions, garlic, bay leaves and bacon, black beans are delicious and often become more then “only” a side dish, shadowing the main dish, usually meat, chicken or fish. They are also nutritious, especially when cooked from scratch. When I was having a conversation with two of my sister-in-laws (both good cooks) that I finally realized that black beans are not as nearly as popular in the United States, and that most people don’t know how to add the “right” flavors when preparing; so I decided to share this recipe. If I close my eyes I can still hear the loud sound of the pressure cooker, and smell the scents that would come from the large pot of beans that was prepared in my house when I was a little girl. This post is a little piece of Mom’s everyday kitchen. Welcome!

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Farofa - Brazilian Crunchy Topping or Stuffing

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Don’t be fooled by the “dirty sand” look of this typical Brazilian side dish! Farofa is a delicious, crunchy side dish (or stuffing) that is eaten at a daily basis all over Brazil. Given the fact that Brazil is a HUGE country with a large variety of dishes from region to region, achieving that level of popularity is pretty impressive… It certainly does NOT taste like dirty sand. Farofa is crunchy and full of intense flavors that enhance the texture and add an interesting taste to the main course. It is almost like a crunchy hot sauce, but without the heat. It is extremely simple to make, but exotic at the same time. I hope you are curious enough to try.

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Pumpkin Risotto

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The idea of making pumpkin risotto might raise some eye browns, but I can guarantee this is a must-try recipe during pumpkin season! The pumpkin is used in two different ways in this recipe: cubed and sautéed, and also puréed, after roasted with a touch of brown sugar. Extra creamy and pleasantly rich, this risotto also gets a nutty bite from the Parmigiano-Reggiano. You will not regret trying. Enjoy with a glass of Chardonnay.

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Creamy Saffron Risotto with Mixed Mushrooms

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I am not Italian but I just love to make (and eat) risotto! This recipe was inspired in the traditional Risotto Milanese – which is a risotto infused with lots of saffron. I added mixed mushrooms, some earthy scented herbs and my Special White Sauce to this Italian classic. The result is an extra creamy, perfumed and rich risotto. If you are a vegetarian, use vegetable broth as a substitute for the beef broth. I recommend enjoying with a glass of Chianti and very good company!

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Sopa Paraguaya – Paraguayan Corn Bread

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This delicious South American corn bread recipe has slowly cooked onions and mozarella cheese. Serve as a side dish for stews (that's how the Paraguayans enjoy it) or grill and serve as an appetizer with salsa fresca.

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Eggplant, Zucchini and Yellow Squash Lasagna

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There are no noodles is this lasagna, but delicious layers of healthy vegetables! Serve with ciabatta bread on the side, or turn it into a side dish for chicken or steak. This is also one of my favorite low-carb dishes. Enjoy with a glass of Chianti!

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Four Cheese Risotto

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Rich and creamy, this Four Cheese Risotto can stand up on its on without a protein. If you really need a protein, opt for steak, dark meat chicken or salmon, since they have enough flavor not to be overpowered by the strong taste of the cheeses. Making risotto is one of my favorites in the kitchen, and this recipe is simply delicious! 

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Grilled Heirloom Tomato Pizza

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This is the tomatoes lover pizza! Yes, I love tomatoes especially heirloom tomatoes that are so juicy and flavorful!

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Moroccan Couscous with Dried Fruits and Nuts

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After you plate it, you can drizzle with honey. It will be a little sweeter, and a little more divine!

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Rustic Porcini Risotto

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Don't be fooled by the rustic appearence of this dish. This risotto is very elegant and fragrant. It's perfect for a small gathering around the stove.

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White Lasagna with Mixed Mushrooms

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I love making this lasagna recipe when I throw large parties because it can be made in advance, so I can enjoy the festivities! The other reason why it is a great recipe to serve at large gatherings is that it is a vegetarian dish with a meaty and fullfilling texture (thanks to mushrooms and rich flavored cheeses). This is an old recipe that I have been making for about 18 years. Enjoy with great friends and good wine!

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Cynthia’s Special White Sauce

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This is my classic, gluten-free white sauce recipe! I like to add this amazing white sauce to some classic dishes and when a recipe calls for béchamel, I usually substitute for my own white sauce which I consider way tastier. It takes more time to cook if compared to a béchamel, but the wait is very much worth it! It is perfect over vegetables, especially cauliflower, potatoes, and asparagus; and over other dishes like lasagna noodles, sautéed chicken, baked fish and so many more. Try adding fresh herbs, like scallions and parsley. It is a simple, versatile recipe with just 5 ingredients, but the secret is to slow cook the half and half to develop the flavors. So you might be thinking : "What is it so special about this white sauce?" I guess you will find out after you try ;)

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Roasted Cauliflower with White Sauce

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Delicious and rich, my decadent and simple Roasted Cauliflower with White Sauce is so good you might "promote" it to main course. Enjoy! 

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