I love making risotto. I know some accuse it of being overly time intensive, but I actually love the process of slowly adding the broth and stirring continually, knowing a delicious, gooey treat is just around the corner. I also enjoy drinking a glass of wine or beer while I prepare it, happily humming away at the stove. Exhibit A: Sipping a delicious microbrew during a risotto-tending break. 🙂
Butternut squash risotto is one of my favorite varieties for several reasons. I love the chunky texture of the roasted squash, and the mild flavor just can’t be beat. I usually start with pre-packaged chopped squash because, I don’t know about you, but those suckers are REALLY hard to chop! This saves me at least ten minutes of frustrating prep time, and to be honest, when chopping a butternut squash I often worry about cutting my finger off, so the extra cost of the prepared squash is completely worth it to me.
First step: Roast the squash at 400 for 20 minutes, drizzled in a little olive oil and salt and pepper.
Next prepare your aromatics: One small sweet onion and three cloves of garlic.
I like to start the onions a few minutes before adding the garlic. I have more than a few garlic-burning incidents on my record. Food Network chefs would lead you to believe they can be tossed in the pan simultaneously, but I find their browning times differ considerably. Maybe I just don’t have that fancy-schmancy Food Network touch.
On a related note, I love my garlic press. My knife skills leave something to be desired, and I’m never able to mince garlic as finely as I’d like. I love popping the garlic into the press and producing beautiful mincing without even getting my fingers too stinky.
Just insert the peeled clove in the bowl of the press, squeeze and scrape off the garlic with your knife.
Next up: Adding the rice. Arborio rice is a little expensive, but last a long time. This jar cost $7 but ended up yielding four large batches of risotto.
Add two cups of dry rice to the pan containing your onions, garlic, olive oil and 2 T butter. Coat the rice completely in the mixture.
Next add about a cup of dry white wine.
Now begins the basic, repetitive step: Adding liquid and letting it absorb. First, let the wine completely absorb before you begin adding the hot chicken stock.
Oh no, you’re out of chicken stock? Even though you thought for sure you had some extra cartons in the back of the pantry? Hopefully you have a helpful fiance willing to make a mad chicken stock-run while you cut the heat on the risotto and dance around the kitchen to “Boogie on Reggae Woman.”
He returns victorious! (Side note: I love that our “Curb Service” sign is visible in this picture, as I was the beneficiary of chicken stock curb service.)
Back to the recipe. Add 48 oz of hot chicken stock in three separate installments. Pour in some stock, stir until it’s absorbed. Repeat two times.
You’ll know it’s time to add more stock when your spoon leaves a trail in the pan. (L is for “Lauren!”)
Last, add a half cup of good Parmesan cheese.
And add in your delicious roasted squash.