Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Butternut Squash Risotto

I only recently discovered squash in any capacity, and this incarnation so far takes the cake. The recipe, posted below, comes from cooks.com, which I generally like less than other sites like allrecipes.com, mostly because I find it very hit or miss in terms of quality of instructions and quality of product. This particular one was definitely a hit. It takes vaguely nutty and crisp, which is delightful.

Risotto is also one of my favorite dishes to cook, simply because it can be done so many ways, and it's also pretty healthy in the grand scheme of things. I am a believer that healthy food that leaves you still hungry serves very little point, while pretty healthy food that leaves you full and satisfied is much better in the long run, because you don't feel the need to snack nearly so often.

In making this dish, I peeled the squash first while watching Bravo!--I think you get a smoother puree if you have more surface area that steaming chunks with the skin still on. I also made a smaller portion than the recipe calls for, using about 1/2 lb. of squash, 1.25 cups rice, 2 cups stock, and 1/4 cup Parmesan. I would normally have used at least 1 cup more of stock for risotto, but the squash being added in the first round makes the rice already so creamy, I really didn't feel the need.

1 med. butternut squash
5-6 c. chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 shallots, peeled and minced
1.5 c. Arborio rice
1/2 c. dry white wine
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper (freshly ground)
1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
Rosemary sprigs for garnish

Cut squash into eights, discarding seeds. Steam squash for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Scoop flesh from skin and mash lightly. In large saucepan, heat stock to simmer. In another large saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add oil, shallots, and cook for 2 minutes. Add rice. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Add wine to rice and cook, stirring until wine is nearly absorbed.

Stir in a cup of stock and the squash; cook at a steady simmer until liquid is nearly absorbed. Continue stirring in stock a ladleful at a time until rice is creamy and firm (15-20 minutes). Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Add chopped rosemary. Stir in remaining butter and most of Parmesan. Serve in shallow bowls garnished with remaining cheese and rosemary sprigs. Serves 4-6.


Beth said...

Can I kiss the cook?? (wink wink!) J can watch... MUAH, Beth

Peter said...

Risotto is one of my favorite things to cook, and actually just made some last weekend, using, oddly enough, butternut squash.

I had red wine, instead of white, which gave it a very cool purple color, and added nicely to the flavor. Other veggies included cucumbers, tomatoes, and a liberal dose of fresh basil just at the end.

JHenry said...

Beth, I'm going to hold you to that.