Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

I received a couple of butternut squashes in my Farmhouse Delivery (more on that later) and I didn't really know what to do with them. I stared at them for a week or two before I figured that i could just roast them and throw them into another dish. I haven't really cooked with them before so I wanted to find a recipe that would incorporate the squash but not totally highlight it.

I started off by roasting the squash, which is pretty simple. Quarter up the squash, remove the seeds (which looks a lot like pumpkin), use a little olive oil, sprinkle on some salt/pepper and stick it in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes. If you wanted a sweeter flavor you could also layer on some OJ or maple syrup on the squash. I figured that the squash is sweet on it's own and I didn't want the extra calories so I didn't add it.

Once the squash was done cooking, I let it cool down and scooped out the flesh and chopped it up and added it to the risotto which was almost done cooking (recipe below). We were really happy with the final result! The risotto was nice and creamy and the squash added a nice flavor without being to overpowering.

Basic Risotto Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
•1½ cups arborio rice
•1 qt chicken stock
•½ cup white wine
•1 medium shallot or ½ small onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
•3 Tbsp unsalted butter
•1 Tbsp vegetable oil
•¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
•1 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
•Kosher salt, to taste
1.Heat the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot.

2.In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and 1 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallot or onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until it is slightly translucent.

3.Add the rice to the pot and stir it briskly with a wooden spoon so that the grains are coated with the oil and melted butter. Sauté for another minute or so, until there is a slightly nutty aroma. But don't let the rice turn brown.

4.Add the wine and cook while stirring, until the liquid is fully absorbed.

5.Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process.

Note: It's important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, to prevent scorching, and add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry.

6.Continue adding ladles of hot stock and stirring the rice while the liquid is absorbed. As it cooks, you'll see that the rice will take on a creamy consistency as it begins to release its natural starches.

7.Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20-30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy. If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn't done, you can finish the cooking using hot water. Just add the water as you did with the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring while it's absorbed.

8.Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp butter, the parmesan cheese and the parsley, and season to taste with Kosher salt.

9.Risotto turns glutinous if held for too long, you should serve it right away. A properly cooked risotto should form a soft, creamy mound on a dinner plate. It shouldn't run across the plate, nor should it be stiff or gluey.

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