Butternut squash is one of those ingredients that I'm learning to love. I've never liked squash in general (as I've mentioned a thousand times on this blog), but since I get them from my CSA, I have always felt an obligation to keep trying the different squashes so I don't waste what we're given. Last year, I came up with a soup that my husband and I love and then I froze the rest to be used in quick breads in lieu of pumpkin.
Last week we received our first butternut squash, and I struggled to suppress a groan. I know, I know, I'm crazy, but I just haven't been feeling creative in the kitchen over the past couple of weeks. The slump is due to my crazy busy life, I know, but just thinking about figuring out what to do with the squash was exhausting. Then inspiration struck...I was going to make some risotto! I have about ten different rices in my cupboard, and had just been thinking about how to get them into my repertoire more often when the butternut squash crisis happened.
And that's how a delicious recipe and side dish was born out of the ashes of my worn-down self. Make it...you won't be disappointed!
Butternut Squash Risotto
Butternut squash "puree":
1 medium butternut squash, quartered into wedges and seeded
3-4 sage leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbl unsalted butter
1 Tbl olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cups arborio rice
3 sage leaves, chopped finely
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock
Butternut squash puree from one medium squash
4 Tbl grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
Salt and Pepper, to taste
To make the butternut squash "puree":
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lay the butternut squash wedges in a rimmed baking sheet, skin side down. Sprinkle the flesh with the sage, salt and pepper. Drizzle a little olive oil over the squash, and using a pastry brush, brush the oil all over the flesh so that it's completely coated. Place in the oven and bake for 30-50 minutes or until the flesh is soft.
When the squash is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Scoop out the flesh into a bowl and smash with the back of a fork until it is broken down. There should be some chunks left. Set aside.
To make the risotto:
Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan until just simmering. In a larger pot, heat the butter and oil over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the onions and saute until the onions start to wilt, about 5-10 minutes. Add the rice and sage and stir to coat with oil. Saute, stirring often, for a couple of minutes, or until the rice starts to become translucent. Add the wine, stirring constantly until the wine is almost completely absorbed. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and stir until it's almost completely absorbed. Continue adding chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, until the stock is used up or until your rice is done. (Risotto should be done "al dente," which means that there should be some chewiness to the rice. It should not get mushy.) If you use up all of the stock and the rice is not completely done, add a little hot water until it is done.
Add the butternut squash "puree" and parmesan cheese to the rice. Stir well and taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with a sprinkling of parmesan.
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