Butternut Squash Risotto

So, the husband and I always make out a meal plan before we go grocery shopping. We decide what we’re going to be eating for the next week (sometimes two) and that makes shopping a LOT easier.

This past week I decided I wanted to try a butternut squash risotto recipe because…well, it’s fall. If you’ve read more than one entry in this blog you probably already know my love of everything autumn and my love of squash, so it’s not strange that I got ridiculously excited about this risotto recipe.

The problem was, once we got to the store there was literally only one butternut squash left. And it was SIX POUNDS. What in the world was I supposed to do with six pounds of butternut squash? Well, I bought it anyway. Mostly because I didn’t even think that all of the pumpkin patches would have squash this time of year, but also because I love butternut squash so much I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal to eat it in a couple different forms.

So we got the thing home, cubed it, made some soup with about two pounds of it, froze that. Decided I would roast some of the cubes with a little maple syrup and cinnamon later on in the week (recipe to come). Then I got to make this:

Butternut Squash Risotto

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (I never make my risotto with wine, I subbed in 1/2 cup veggie broth)
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) vegetable broth, mixed with 1/2 cup water and heated
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish

1) Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add cubed butternut squash. Season with salt and pepper. Stir frequently while cooking to make sure the squash doesn’t stick. Cook until the edges of the butternut squash soften, approximately 6-8 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, in a separate pan, place veggie broth and heat to a gentle simmer. Keep this broth warm throughout cooking.

3) Add rice to butternut squash mixture and stir to coat. Allow to toast in the pan for approximately 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup of white wine and cook until almost all liquid has evaporated. (This is where I subbed in veggie broth for wine.)

4) Reduce heat to medium-low and add 1/2 cup hot broth mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until almost all liquid is absorbed. Add remaining broth mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding the next half cup.

5) After the last bit of veggie broth has been added, stir mixture until most liquid has been absorbed and the rice looks creamy. Remove from heat, add Parmesan cheese and sage. Stir until mixed well and cheese has melted.

6) Serve immediately and garnish with more Parmesan and sage if desired.

If you notice in the original recipe, which is a Martha Stewart recipe, they tell you to add an extra 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt at the end of cooking. DO NOT DO IT. That is either a typo or someone is crazy because that is WAY too much salt. The broth has enough salt in it that you won’t need to add the extra at the end. Even if you use low-sodium broth, that extra salt they say to add at the end will overpower any good flavors.

And this dish does have an amazing flavor. I absolutely LOVED it. It was delicious and creamy and perfect on a cool night.

Since I mentioned that I replace the white wine with broth, I will say that I honestly have no idea what kind of difference that makes in the flavor. I have never made risotto with wine, I always replace it with broth. It’s just easier and then I don’t have a bottle of cooking wine hanging around my house that would only be used on the rare occasion that I make risotto. If you try it with wine, let me know how it goes!

Next time I’ll probably halve the recipe because it was supposed to feed four and the leftovers did not heat up so well (which isn’t surprising, but I tried anyway).

Either way, this is an amazing autumn dinner that you should definitely try.

Risotto

Risotto is one of those fancy cooking terms that I always heard real chefs throw around. Although, anything other than “microwaveable” is kind of fancy to me, the non-cook.

Then I got this amazing vegetarian cookbook (Betty Crocker Easy Everyday Vegetarian) that had SEVEN different risotto recipes in it. That is when I learned that it is just a rice dish and not terribly fancy at all. I also decided that if the Betty Crocker people think I need seven different recipes, maybe I should learn to make it.

If you’ve never made risotto, let me just tell you that it is kind of a pain. This isn’t a dish you can put on the stove and walk away from (those are my favorites), so be prepared.

Classic Risotto

Total cook time: 55 minutes
Makes 4 Servings
670 Calories/serving

Ingredients

6 cups vegetable broth
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
2 cups uncooked Arborio rice (or med. grain white rice)
1 cup dry white wine OR vegetable broth
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Heat 6 cups of broth in 3 quart sauce pan over medium heat.

Meanwhile, heat butter and oil over medium-high heat in a 4 quart saucepan. When butter is melted, add onion and parsley. Cook about five minutes, stirring frequently until onion is tender.

Stir in rice and cook, stirring occasionally until edges of rice are translucent. Stir in wine and cook about 3 minutes stirring constantly until wine is absorbed.

Reduce heat to medium and pour 1/2 cup of hot broth over rice mixture. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed. Continue cooking, adding 1/2 cup of broth at a time and stirring until the broth is absorbed. Rice should be almost tender, and mixture should be creamy. Remove from heat.

Stir in cheese and pepper.

**I also added two minced garlic cloves which I cooked in with the onions and parsley. It’s not necessary, the recipe is good without it, but if you like garlic it is a good addition.**

This dish was so filling and delicious. The recipe said it made four servings, but I can’t imagine it only feeding four. I had less than a serving size and I couldn’t even finish it.

Chad thought it was really good, too, so this recipe is officially Husband Approved. He did not, however, approve the picture, since he said that it doesn’t look nearly as good as it actually was.

We’re going to my mom’s this coming week for Thanksgiving, and I have a recipe for Pumpkin Risotto that I plan on trying while we are there. I’ll post that (and my other Thanksgiving recipes) when I get a chance.