Butternut squash is such a versatile vegetable. We have always loved making soup with it. You can roast it up for Buddha bowls, or whirl it in the food processor into silky soup. Who doesn’t love butternut squash ravioli? One of our favorite things to make with butternut squash, is risotto! I mean, talk about comfort food! This simple dish comes together with a minimum amount of prep, and can elevate a simple grilled piece of fish or chicken to a plate of magic.
1 cup Arborio rice
1 large shallot diced (about 1/3 cup)
4 cloves of garlic shredded
2 tablespoons butter, & 4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 cups simmering vegetable stock
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups butternut squash, cut into small cubes
½ cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
½ cup heavy cream, or half and half
Heat oven to 400 degrees
Toss butternut squash with garlic olive oil in a ziplock bag or bowl
Put the squash on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, turning half way, ovens vary, cook until firm, but not too soft
While squash is baking, start risotto
Melt butter in a large skillet
Add in olive oil
Now, toss in the shallots and garlic, and sweat for a few minutes, do not brown
So its time to add in dry arborio rice, stirring to coat each grain
Continue to stir to lightly toast the rice, do not brown
Pour 2 glasses of white wine. Take a drink from the first, then add 2nd glass of wine into the rice, stirring to deglaze, until absorbed into rice.
Now it is time to start to incorporate the simmering stock!
One ladle at a time, add stock, and stir
Although some say you must constantly stir, that is not the case
Stirring should be done, but you can walk away and come back to the risotto, stirring occasionally to make sure it does not stick.
Once all stock is absorbed, stir in roasted squash
Add in the cream, 4 tablespoons of butter and pecorino
Taste, and adjust now with salt and pepper, and more cheese, if needed
Serve alone, or with fish, or chicken, or a salad.
The key consistency for risotto is to have it ooze off your serving spoon like molten lava. If it is stiff like mashed potatoes, add more liquid. You can add more stock, or more cream. Risotto that is too thin needs to cook a bit more. Toss whatever fresh herbs over the top that you like. Sage is a perfect combo with butternut squash, but if that is not your jam, add parsley, or rosemary, or a squeeze of lemon, to give it a fresh note.