Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

risotto is one of my favorite things on the planet. (you can read all about my ode to risotto here.) there is something about the thick, creamy rice that wraps me in warmth. it is truly a comfort food to me.

i actually contemplated putting this roasted butternut squash risotto on our thanksgiving comfort food feast menu but the 20-30 minute hands-on time and the serve immediately thing didn't quite go with our laid-back meal. i did have the ingredients on hand though so i could make it shortly after as my crave-o-meter was going into high gear.

this dish is perfect for late fall/early winter when butternut squash is in season. the slight sweetness of the butternut squash really comes out when it's roasted. i puree the squash so the risotto maintains its creamy integrity.

just so you know, you can use canned pumpkin if you prefer or if you buy cut-up butternut squash to save you time and effort, you wait too long, and it goes bad before you can use it. just hypothetically, or course. it tastes great with pumpkin too. i have also used brown arborio rice (i actually did in the photos here), but keep in mind it takes longer to cook. i find it takes at least 1 more cup of chicken stock and ends up with a bit more "chew" to it than white arborio rice.

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
serves 4 as a main dish

roasted butternut squash:
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cleaned and chopped
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

4 cups chicken stock
2 tbs olive oil
3 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup uncooked arborio rice
1/2 cups white wine
1/4 cups grated parmesan

preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

spread chopped butternut squash on a greased, foil-lined sheet pan. drizzle with 1 tbs olive oil, salt and pepper. toss well to coat (i use the tools god gave me - my clean hands). roast for 25-30 minutes until edges are just starting to brown and squash is fork tender. remove from oven and let cool.

meanwhile, heat 2 tbs olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. add shallots and saute until transparent. add garlic and and cook another minute or two. add rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly until completely coated in oil and starting to turn translucent.

add wine and stir until almost all liquid has been absorbed. add 1/2 cup of warm chicken stock and stir constantly until almost all liquid has been absorbed. continue adding 1/2 cup of liquid at a time and cooking (while stirring) until nearly absorbed. you may not need all of the chicken stock or you may need a bit more but it will take between 20-30 mins. test rice to see if finished - it should be firm but not crunchy.

when squash is cooled, puree in food processor or mash with potato masher. stir into risotto. add parmesan cheese and stir until combined. serve immediately. garnish with additional parmesan cheese if desired.

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