Love and Olive Oil

No Knead Bread, a Pretty Pot, & Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto

No Knead Bread in a turquoise dutch oven pot
Happy early birthday, to me, to me.

Very happy indeed!

I’m easily stumped when it comes to birthdays. I get asked over and over what do I want, what do I want, when really, I don’t know. I guess it’s a good sign when you are satisfied with what you have.

Since no one close to me ever wants to buy me fonts for my birthday (yes, I’m a design nerd), I was at a loss. Until I found the now infamous recipe for No Knead Bread. You see, no knead bread requires, well, a nice pot. A heavy pot that can go into the oven. I wanted this bread, and I wanted it badly. And I had no such pot.

Needless to say, I knew what I wanted for my birthday.

Lucky for me, we have a Le Creuset store downtown (next to Whole Foods, nonetheless!). And so Taylor and I made the treck to the hoity-toity shopping center. I was entirely planning to make the final purchase online, where I could surely get a better deal. Maybe it was the pushy salesman or the enticing shade of turquoise… either way, we left carrying (or, rather, Taylor was carrying) a lovely 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset, in Caribbean blue.

I’m in love (with a pot, yes, but with the boy who bought it for me too!).

And let me tell you, this bread is worth it!!

Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto

Of course, we couldn’t JUST eat bread for dinner. I recently saw this recipe for Vanilla Bean and Butternut Squash risotto over at Erin Cooks… and with my stash of ebay vanilla beans I am always looking for new ways to use them. While it might seem like an odd combination, the subtle sweetness of the vanilla is a perfect compliment to the squash and creamy risotto. Plus the tiny speckles are a sight to be seen.

Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto

Makes 4 regular or 6 side dish servings.
Recipe from Giada.

4 cups vegetable broth
1 large vanilla bean
3 cups peeled cubed (1-inch wide) butternut squash, about 12 ounces
2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
3/4 cups finely chopped onion (from 1 onion)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

In a medium saucepan, warm the broth over medium-high heat. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and add them, and the bean, to the broth. When the broth comes to a simmer reduce the heat to low. Add the butternut squash to the simmering broth and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the butternut squash to a side dish. Turn the heat on the broth down to very low and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to of the broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Discard the vanilla bean. Turn off the heat. Gently stir in the butternut squash, Parmesan, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chives. Serve immediately.

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  1. Where is the No Knead Bread recipe ?
    Do you have Recipe for sourdough starter and Bread ?

    • I linked to the recipe I used in the post (from SteamyKitchen).

      I’ve been playing with sourdough lately using the recipe in the Tartine Bread, which is a good deal more complicated than the no-knead version but I’ve been having great results. :)

  2. What a wonderful Le Creuset color!

    I love butternut squash risotto, but never added vanilla, sounds quite intriguing – will try it next time I make it

  3. I’ve been following your blog for quite a while and enjoying your wealth of good recipes. When Foodista announced that they are going to publish the best food blogs in a full color book that will be published by Andrews McMeel Publishing Fall 2010, I naturally thought of you. This recipe would be a good submission! You can enter here:


    [email protected]
    Editor and Community Developer — The Cooking Encyclopedia Everyone Can Edit

  4. I had the same problem.

    I have a rainbow in my kitchen.
    A lime green cuisinart toaster, pale aqua (ice) kitchenaid artisan, a buttercup yellow hand mixer by kitchenaid. My other pieces in le creuset are 24 cm (4 1/2 quart) in flame and oval 31 cm. in flame, cherry sauce pan and azure blue saucepans (small, 14 cm.) a 2 quart red apple, a demi kettle in azure blue, a whistling kettle in cherry, a lemongrass oval in 23 cm. and now the 26 cm. (5 1/2 quart) in kiwi (almost identical to lemongrass). I toyed with getting the 26 cm. dijon or the 26 cm. caribb. blue. I am more of a green person and got kiwi.


  5. Le Creuset cast iron dutch ovens did come in pink at one time. I bought one at Tuesday Morning a couple of years ago. Keep your eyes open—it really is fun to have.

  6. Happy Birthday! What a stunning photo. Love the colors.

  7. Happy Birthday! Awesome pot I am so jealous!

  8. What a beautiful color on that pot! And I’ve read so much about the no-knead bread. I just may have to make some. Gorgeous photos!

  9. What a happy birthday, a happy pot, and a happy love. :)

  10. Thanks Matt for that info! I had read about the knob only good to 375… and in fear of ruining my brand new pot, I ended up taking it off altogether. It was a bit tough to take the lid off with no knob and potholders, but it worked fine nonetheless! :) I was curious if they had a metal knob, so thanks for sharing that (and the Home Depot tip too! I just might have to take advantage of that!)

  11. Very nice pot, welcome to the LC fold. I have a larger LC dutch oven in red (sorry, I do not remember the official color name!) and a few enameled Lodge ones that I like to use as well (for those wanting to save money, I see very little performance difference between the pots, despite the huge gap in cost, and neither did Cooks Illustrated).

    It’s worth noting that if your dutch oven has the phenolic plastic handle, I believe it’s only rated for 375 degrees and should not be put in the oven at the 500+ degrees recommended for many bread baking applications.

    Le Creuset now offers a stainless steel knob for something like $18 that solves that problem –

    I ordered one for my LC, and it looks and works great (BE SURE TO USE A TOWEL TO GRASP THE HANDLE WHEN LIFTING THE LID OFF A HOT POT), and it also fit on my Lodge dutch ovens just fine, though ultimately for those I went to Home Depot and bought a nice stainless steel drawer handle that was approximately the same size and shape as the original plastic handle, and that only ran me $4 a knob.

    Anyway, I figured I’d toss that information out there before you pull the pot out of the oven one day and find the knob is cracked.

    I found this site through Tastespotting. Your food and photography look beautiful, and I’m going to add your site to my list of regular reads.

    Happy cooking!

  12. The Caribbean Blue is my absolute favourite colour!

    I saw the Tastespotting post and had to click!

    Beautiful blog btw!

  13. Oh my! I think I echo every other woman when I gasp in envy of your gorgeous, gorgeous pot!

  14. I grinned when I saw your post, (a) because I have the same LC Caribbean blue Dutch Oven — I also received it for my birthday — and I absolutely, utterly, ADORE it! And, (b), because I also love using it to make no-knead bread…along with any other recipe I can remotely justify making in it. It’s a thing of beauty and perfect function, to boot! :)

  15. Michelle –

    I was torn between the lime green and turquoise. See, I have a lime green kitchen aid mixer. But, our walls are turquoise and so is our toaster. See, torn! Either would have looked stunning. I guess the turquoise seemed richer – it will ‘contrast’ better with the red sauces and golden brown breads (the graphic designer in me speaking here). hehe. Maybe my next one (dreaming? yes) will be lime green. :)

  16. Ohh, I’m jealous of your pot. That is the reason I have not tried the no knead bread. I’ll have to ask for a pot for my birthday, but unfortunately it’s not until September!

  17. What a pretty pot and a great boy! I have the same LC pot, only in yellow and I love it! I haven’t done bread in it though, so I will have to try it.

  18. the risotto and bread look great, but i’m in *love* with that pot! i though i couldn’t love an LC more than my little 2-quart kiwi (so cute!), but the caribbean blue is killer!

  19. Happy birthday! LOve the pot – have been thinking about getting one as well. I use a black cast iron one now .. which I am sure is fine, but you have to love those colors!

  20. Alexandra –

    You could use all broth and probably wouldn’t lose a whole lot. You could also add a little lemon juice or other fruit juice (maybe? this could be gross actually) or even a bit of vinegar, just to bring up the acidity a bit. I wouldn’t use as much as the recipe calls for though! Good luck, let me know how it turns out if you give it a try!

  21. I snagged a couple baby blue LC ramekins at Tuesday morning. They are too precious. :) If only I had a ton of money (or more birthdays!), I’d buy the whole set!

  22. Ooo, my birthday is coming up in just a few weeks so I might steal your idea to give to my boy too! Actually, I’ve eyed up some minature LC pots at the local kitchen store several times – even had them in my hands walking to the counter – but as adorable as mini LC pots in brilliant red, green and blue are, they were just too dear to buy myself. Birthday’s rock, and I’m so glad you are enjoying yours!

    On another note, I have a lovely roasted butternut squash sauce that I think I might try adding just a bit of vanilla bean to now that I’ve read your risotto recipe above. Interesting idea! Thanks! :)

  23. This looks incredible! I really want to make this for dinner this week, except I have a problem using white wine (or any alcohol) in my cooking. Do you have any suggestions?

  24. I’m in love with your pot, too! Happy early birthday — I’m sure you will enjoy your present for years to come. (PS — I did the same thing — bought my first Le Creuset as a birthday present, for myself! I’m still in love with it.)

  25. Love the Le Creuset! Lovely color… I got one for a wedding present (the first wedding) in 1967. It was great until I lent it to a to remain unnamed cousin of yours, and she left it on the stove with something in it and burned the bottom. I mean right through the enamel and all. (I say this as a warning, they are not indestructible) So I bought myself one for my next wedding, and it has been great, as has been the marriage, for 24 years now!

  26. Honestly you couldn’t taste the chives! Thyme has a much stronger flavor. I think the chives are just there to make it look pretty.

    And they definitely need a pink Le Creuset! With all the pink mixers and kitchen stuff these days, I’m very surprised they don’t have one already!

  27. Heppy birthday! Beautiful pot – what a fab birthday gift!

  28. I’m so jealous that you have a brand new Le Creuset! I have the Cooks Illustrated recommended knock-off from Target. I’m waiting for Le Creuset to come out with a pink pot. I may wait forever ha ha ….

    Anyway, I’m glad you tried that recipe and enjoyed it too. How were the chives as a garnish? I thought that sounded a little odd so I used thyme instead.

    Happy Birthday!

  29. OH BABY! Caribbean BLUE!

    I’ve got LC envy now.


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