Butternut Squash Risotto

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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. 🙂

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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.

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First step: Roast the squash at 400 for 20 minutes, drizzled in a little olive oil and salt and pepper.

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Next prepare your aromatics: One small sweet onion and three cloves of garlic.

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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.

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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.

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Just insert the peeled clove in the bowl of the press, squeeze and scrape off the garlic with your knife.

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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.

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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.

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Next add about a cup of dry white wine.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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You’ll know it’s time to add more stock when your spoon leaves a trail in the pan. (L is for “Lauren!”)

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Next, add your seasoning. I like to use a little cinnamon to bring out the squash flavor, along with some white pepper and thyme.

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Last, add a half cup of good Parmesan cheese.

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And add in your delicious roasted squash.

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Perfecto!

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3 responses »

  1. Pingback: iPod Roulette « Lettuce Eat Cake

  2. Lauren, I am finally trying to make this recipe as I type this comment (after you and my sister both raved about it, I had no choice!) First thing: my grocery store didn’t sell chopped bn squash, so I had to do it myself and I hated all but 4 seconds of it (the last 4 seconds). It sucked. Next, my roasted squash looked nothing like yours, and it’s not really that tender, so I put it in for another 10 minutes. We’ll see how it turns out! Love you!

    • Yay! How fun! Sounds like you did need to roast it a bit more, if it wasn’t tender. Hope it turned out well! You’ll have to let me know how it tasted. 🙂 Love you!

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