Monday, December 3, 2012

Butternut Squash Orzotto

It's no secret that risotto is one of my favorite dishes. There is just something so wonderfully rich and decadent about it.

So what better thing to do it pasta then to make it risotto-like? This orzotto dish has all the wonderfulness of risotto but with orzo pasta instead of arborio rice. I like to use whole wheat orzo because it is heartier and cooks a bit longer than regular orzo.

You don't want the orzo to get mushy, so taste it often to get just to the al dente point. It will cook just a smidge more while you continue to stir it and it sits.

This orzotto is a great holiday dish or even a great use for leftovers. In fact, leftover roasted butternut squash works best. I add just a bit of chicken stock, if needed, when pureeing it in the food processor. You want the butternut squash to be thick, no too thin.


Butternut Squash Orzotto
(serves 5-6)

2 cups roasted butternut squash, pureed
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1 cup whole wheat orzo (or regular orzo)
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
dash of ground cayenne, optional
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Bring 3 cups of chicken broth to a simmer in medium sauce pan. Reduce heat to low.

Melt butter and olive oil to deep skillet or dutch oven. Add shallots and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes until tender. Add salt and pepper and orzo pasta. Stirring constantly, toast orzo for 1 minute. Add white wine and continue stirring until most liquid has been absorbed. Add chicken stock, one ladle at a time. Continue to stir constantly adding more chicken stock only when previous stock has been mostly absorbed.

Taste orzo when almost all of stock has been used to test for pasta doneness. When pasta is al dente, add butternut squash and salt and pepper to taste if needed. Turn off heat and stir in parmesan cheese and cayenne.

Serve immediately.

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