Beef recipe wins Tahoe woman $50,000 |

Beef recipe wins Tahoe woman $50,000

Annie Flanzraich
Christine Riccitelli shows off her prize-winning recipe at the National Beef Cook-Off.

For Christine Riccitelli, experimenting with butternut squash really paid off.

“You know how you go on kicks where you eat the same things over and over?” Riccitelli said. “I was eating way too much squash.”

While on her “squash kick” Riccatelli invented a recipe called Nuevo Chipotle Beef in Butternut Squash Boats, which won her first place and $50,000 at the National Beef Cook-Off earlier this month. She plans to share her prize winnings with her family.

The recipe matches the spiciness of the beef with the sweet texture of the squash, Riccatelli said. And it’s also healthy.

“My friends and I are all into health and eating according to colors,” Riccitelli said. “This dish has four of the colors so all you have to do is add a glass of red wine and chocolate.”

Riccitelli’s recipe features a blend of Latin flavor influences, including chipotle chile pepper, ripe avocado and butternut squash. The dish is an excellent source of nutrients like fiber, protein, niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, iron, selenium and zinc, according to the National Beef Cook-Off.

The bi-annual National Beef Cook-Off is funded in part by the Beef Checkoff and managed by the National American Cattlewomen Inc., on behalf of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. The Beef Checkoff is a beef promotional fund that ranchers contribute to from their cattle sales.

Four years ago Riccitelli was runner up with a barbecue beef pizza recipe, so entering the contest again was always in the back of her mind as she experimented in the kitchen, she said.

Riccitelli has no formal culinary training and learned her kitchen skills from her mother.

“I always liked to try new things and I enjoy doing it,” she said.

Nuevo Chipotle Beef in Butternut Squash Boats

Total preparation and cooking time: 2 to 2 3/4 hours


1 1/2 pounds beef for stew

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons ground chipotle pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds)

1 1/2 cups water

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 small ripe avocado, cut into cubes (optional)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place beef, water, tomato paste, sugar, vinegar, chipotle pepper, cumin, salt and black pepper in stockpot. Cover and bake in 325°F oven 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours or until beef is fork-tender.

Meanwhile, cut squash lengthwise into quarters; remove seeds. Place squash cut sidedown in 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish, overlapping if necessary. Add water. Bake in 325°F oven 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until fork-tender.

Place each baked squash quarter onto serving plate. Fill with equal amounts of beef mixture. Top with tomato and avocado, if desired. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Makes 4 servings.

Cook’s Tips:

— One tablespoon minced, seeded chipotle pepper in adobo sauce may be substituted for ground chipotle chile pepper.

— Chipotle Beef mixture may also be cooked on the stovetop. Bring beef mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 13Ú4 to 21Ú4 hours or until beef is fork-tender.

— Use the Internet to easily locate ethnic or hard-to-find foods when specialty markets are not nearby as many ingredients may be available via mail order.

Nutrition information per serving: 355 calories; 9 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 3 g monounsaturated fat); 73 mg cholesterol; 528 mg sodium; 44 g carbohydrate; 9.7 g fiber; 29 g protein; 7.0 mg niacin; 0.7 mg vitamin B6; 2.2 mcg vitamin B12; 5.3 mg iron; 20.5 mcg selenium; 6.3 mg zinc.

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