Butternut Squash Risotto
Butternut squash risotto is perfect on a cold fall or winter night. The rich sweetness of the butternut squash pairs beautifully with red wine, which turns the Arborio a lovely warm shade of purple-orange. The finished dish should have a softness with a coating of sauce around it. The vegetables are cooked and the rice has bite but is also chewy and silky. Add seafood or any seasonal vegetables you like (green peas, asparagus, etc.) to this dish.
- 1 cup Royal® Arborio Rice
- 1 medium white onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 6-8 oz butternut squash, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3-5 sage leaves
- ½ cup red or white wine or dry vermouth (optional)
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons butter
- Parmesan rind (optional)
- 2-3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese or your favorite hard cheese
- Measure out the rice but do NOT wash it. You will require its starch for a creamy risotto.
- Chop the onion fine and mince the garlic. Peel and cut the squash into 1-inch chunks or use pre-cut squash. Rinse and set aside. Julienne the sage leaves.
- In one pot, start warming the chicken stock. Do not let it come to a boil. It should just stay warm.
- In another pot, heat oil and butter over low heat. Increase the heat to medium-high and sauté the onion and garlic until aromatic, 1-2 minutes. Add the squash and sauté 2-3 minutes to soften it. If you have leftover Parmesan rind, throw it into the pot now. It will melt into the dish over the cooking process.
- Stir in the Arborio rice so that it is coated with the oil, butter and onion. Raise the heat to high and add the wine or vermouth, stirring often. When the liquid has been absorbed, add 1 ladleful of stock to the pot and continue stirring the rice over high heat. As the rice cooks and absorbs liquid, keep adding more to the pot, one ladle at a time. Occasionally scrape up the bottom of the pan to make sure nothing is sticking or burning.
- The constant stirring and addition of a hot liquid help the rice to cook. As it cooks, turn down the heat so it does not burn. When it is tender, turn off the heat and mix in 2 tablespoons of Parmesan and the sage leaves.
- Serve hot in individual bowls topped with more Parmesan and a sage leave. Serve a full-bodied red wine with the risotto and that is all you will need!