Although I’m not excited at the prospect of the encroaching Ohio winter ahead, I can say that I am excited by the appearance of fall produce at the farmer’s market starting this past weekend. Besides scooping up some of the least fresh tomatoes and peppers of the season, I picked up a beautiful butternut squash to experiment with. Since school started back up for me this week, I initially wanted to make some sort of homemade pasta/ravioli. While browsing through different raviolis that use this bright fall favorite, I came across a recipe for a butternut squash risotto. The bright orange color imparted by the squash and the creamy texture I imagined coming from a nice squash puree had me sold, so I quickly set out to make the risotto.
Although risotto’s can be irritating, because they demand semi-constant attention for slightly longer than I may prefer to stand at the stove and because they have a reputation for being finicky, the results are always worth it, and typically serves as a meal in itself. I don't think I've ever tasted a bad risotto, although maybe everyone can mentally hear Gordon Ramsey yelling about risotto. Or maybe that's just me. Anyways, I started out by cubing and roasting the butternut squash to ensure it had a nice roasted flavor throughout, coated in olive oil, and roasted for about 45 minutes. The recipes I initially came across all made the squash into a puree using cream, but I opted to blend about three fourths or so of the squash with some rich chicken broth instead, and place the remaining rich chunks of squash in whole to give a little bit of texture variation. Butternut squash purees beautifully and achieves a velvety creamy texture that is absolutely delicious. So without further delay, here is the recipe for your risotto pleasure. Enjoy!
Butternut Squash Risotto; 3-4 Servings
1 2-3 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
2 tbsp olive oil; divided
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 Cup Onion, Diced
1 Cup Arborio Rice
1/2 Cup White Wine
5 Cups Prepared Chicken Broth; should have some left over.
1 Tsp Fresh Sage
Fresh Parmesan Cheese for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 400. Mix cubed squash with 1 tbsp olive oil and place in roasting pan. Salt & pepper to taste. Place in oven and roast approximately 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until golden in color and lightly browned in places. Once done, carefully add 3/4 of squash to blender with 1/4 cup of chicken stock. Puree until smooth. Add additional stock if necessary.
2. Place 1 tbsp in large skillet, and sauté onion over medium heat until translucent. Add rice and toast for approximately 1 minute stirring occasionally. Add white wine and simmer until liquid mostly evaporated. Add 1/2 cup broth stirring frequently. When most of the liquid is evaporated and you can move your spoon across the pan without the mixture instantly covering the whole, add your next 1/2 cup broth. Repeat until rice has lost its crunch and mixture is creamy.
3. Once mixture has reached desired consistency, reduce heat, add squash puree, remaining squash, and sage. Stir until heated through. Garnish with parmesan cheese. Serve warm.