If you didn’t already know, I have a love for all things butternut squash and pumpkin related. Any time I see either of those words on a menu- I’m sold. It was to my happiness that I found a butternut squash risotto recipe in the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook!. You can also find the recipe here.
2lb butternut squash, cubed to 1/4 inch size (reserve seeds and fibers)
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp gr black pepper
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 small onions, minced (~1.5 cups)
4 tbs (1/2 stick butter)
1 cup water
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 cups Arborio rice (i found this in the bulk bins at Berkeley Bowl)
1.5 cups dry white wine
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbsp minced sage leaves (I didn’t have any so I used cilantro- still good!)
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg (I just used the off the rack spice)
1. Dice the butternut squash into small cubes (1/4 inch) for sauteing. Reserve the seeds and fibers from the inside.
2. Add oil to skillet on medium heat until oil is shimmering and then add in butternut squash in an even layer. Do not stir. Let sit for 4-5 minutes until golden brown. Season with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occassionally until squash is tender and can be pierced by a fork (another 5 minutes). Take squash out and set aside in bowl.
3. Return skillet to med heat and add in the reserved seeds and fibers. Cook to break up fibers until slightly browned (~3-5 min). Transfer to a saucepan (or small pot) and add the chicken broth and water. Cover until boiling over high heat- then turn down to med-low and simmer.
4. Add 3 tbsp of butter into the empty skillet and melt over med heat. Add in diced onions and garlic and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Cook ~5 minutes until onions are soft.
5. Strain the fibers and seeds from the broth. Make sure to get as much liquid out from the fibers. Discard the seeds and fibers and return broth back to pot. Cover and keep simmering.
6. Add in the rice and cook ~5 minutes until grains become translucent. Add wine and keep stirring (careful not to spill rice out) until liquid is absorbed.
7. Once wine is absorbed pour in 3 cups of the hot broth and 1/2 of the reserved squash cubes into the rice. Stir every 3-4 minutes until liquid is absorbed- total of 12-15 minutes. The bottom of the skillet should be dry.
8. Add in 1/2 of broth while stirring- and continue to repeat until the rice is cooked through and slightly al dente. The rice should be a little firm in the center. Once off the heat, stir in the remaining 1 tbsp butter, parmesan, sage (or cilantro), and nutmeg. Also fold in the remaining squash. If the rice is too dry, add in a little more broth.
9. Serve immediately and enjoy!
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