Butternut Squash Risotto

This dish wasn’t an official part of our cooking school, just me messing around in the kitchen, ad libbing.  It came out so well I’m posting it here.  It’s a really pretty golden color, but by the time I got my camera out every scrap was already consumed.  We had it as a main dish, but it would work well as a side dish in smaller servings.

Butternut Squash Risotto

A delicious and golden yellow risotto, great for a chilly day.  You could substitute pumpkin or other winter squash.  When I made it, I didn’t actually measure anything, so the amounts are approximate.  It’s a forgiving dish, so don’t worry too much about getting them exact.

1 butternut squash, medium sized, or 2 1/2 cups puree
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh sage, crushed
3/4 cup white wine
cayenne pepper to taste
black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup swiss cheese, cut into chunks
vegetable broth or water

1. Slice the butternut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the guts and seeds.  Brush cut surface with olive oil, then place face down on a baking sheet.  Bake in oven at 350 F until the inside is very tender and soft, about 30 minutes.  Let cool until easy to handle.

2. Scoop out insides of squash and puree in blender or food processor.  If it is too thick to easily puree, add a little water.  Set aside.

3. Heat 2 T olive oil in a large heavy skillet.  Add onion, cook until soft.

4. Add garlic, sage, salt and peppers.  Cook a couple of minutes.

5. Add the arborio rice, stir until well coated with the oil and onion mixture.

6. Add white wine, cook at medium heat, stirring constantly, until the liquid is gone,

7. Add the squash puree and 1/2 cup of water or broth.  Stir constantly and cook until liquid is gone.

8. Keep gradually adding liquid and stirring until it is absorbed or evaporates, about 1/2 cup at a time.  As the rice cooks it will swell and form a thick broth with the squash puree.  Do this until the rice is almost completely cooked, about 30 minutes.

9. When the rice is almost completely cooked, add the swiss cheese along with the last batch of liquid.  Stir until the cheese is melted and the rice cooked.  If you want a lot of broth, remove from heat while still liquidy.  If you want less broth, cook until liquid is almost completely absorbed.

10. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Let sit 5 – 10 minutes, then enjoy.

Servings: 6

Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour

Tips
Make sure you use a big enough cooking pan – the rice will double in size.

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