Friday, December 2, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes that if made correctly can fill you up like warm hug.  When the Santa Anas were gusting at hurricane-speeds the other night , this seemed like the perfect way to spend a cozy evening indoors.  This dish can be vegetarian friendly - simply substitute veggie stock or water  for the chicken stock. Also if you are on the other end of the spectrum and wish the dish was meatier, add some pancetta in the beginning when you are sautéing your onions and garlic. 

Butternut Squash Risotto
Serves 3-4


1 butternut squash (approx 2 lbs)
6 cups chicken stock
6 T butter, unsalted 
1/2 cup brown onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup golden raisins, chopped
1.5 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup pecorino romano (or grana padano)
salt + pepper, to taste
8 ritz crackers, crushed + toasted
10 sage leaves, chopped

1. Peel, de-seed, and chop squash into 1 inch cubes. Place in a pot of cold water. 
Simmer until tender. Drain.
2. Pour stock into a small pan and bring to a simmer. Toss raisins into stock so that they can rehydrate. 
3. Saute onion and 1 T of butter in a large pan until translucent. Add garlic and rice. Once the garlic becomes fragrant, add white wine and cook until completely reduced. 
4. Add 1/2 cup of squash and a ladle of warm stock. Stir continually until pan is almost dry and then continue to add squash and stock one ladle at a time. It is super important to continue stirring the rice because that is the only way to agitate the gluten which will make your risotto perfectly creamy.
5. Once you use your last bit of stock (with raisins in it) your risotto should be creamy
 but still al dente (you should be able to identify individual grains of rice). 
6. Add your remaining butter and cheese. Stir until combined. Turn off heat. Season with salt and pepper. 
7. Top with toasted ritz cracker crumbs and freshly chopped sage. 
8. Serve immediately. Enjoy! 

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