I love autumn. I love fall foliage and warm clothes and Thanksgiving. And I love gourds. While my undying adoration for pumpkin will have to wait until a future post, this post is dedicated to butternut squash. Most of the times I've had this squash, it's been in ravioli di zucca. Once fall came around, I wanted to make something with the squash but didn't think I was culinary-advanced enough to make my own ravioli. So I made butternut squash risotto instead.
The verdict? Easy. Seasonal. Delicious. I used Rachel Ray's recipe as a guide but made some of my own changes. First, I used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. And most importantly, because I'm not trying to feed a family in 30 minutes, I got fresh squash instead of frozen. If you have the time: cook the squash yourself. It's so easy and so gratifying once it's out of the oven.
butternut squash risotto
1 medium butternut squash (around 3-4 pounds)
salt and pepper to taste
1 quart vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons of E.V.O.O. (get it?)
1 small onion, chopped
2 gloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups of arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
7-8 sage leaves
1 cup parmigiano reggiano*
Preheat oven to 350°F. Wash squash and cut in half lengthwise. Clean out the seeds and extra stringy stuff that you don't want (perhaps save the seeds to toast them later, if you'd like). Rub butter on the face of each half and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash face up in a baking pan with an inch of water. Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
In a pot, bring the vegetable broth and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let the broth simmer. In another wide, medium pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add onions and garlic. When the onions have caramelized, add the rice and toast for 2-3 minutes. Add wine and cook out completely. Once the liquid is gone, begin ladling in the broth- one to two ladles at a time, constantly stirring. Add the next ladle when the rice completely absorbs the liquid from the previous ladle. Take the squash and remove the meat- it should be soft and easily mashable. (You only need about 3/4th of the meat, so go ahead and enjoy some of the fresh roasted squash while it's still warm). After you add your last ladle, mix the squash. Add nutmeg, butter, spices and cheese in during the last few minutes of cooking. Enjoy!
*I completely forgot to add parmesan in mine and it was still really good. If you have the cheese, add it. Otherwise, it's not a big loss.
** How funny is it that all of the seeds in the squash are at the very bottom? I love it.