Friday, November 20, 2009

Butternut Squash Risotto

Fall is here, and so are all the fabulous fall squash. Butternut squash is one of my favorites - it's got a nice orange color to it, it holds its shape well when cooked, and it has a mild, sweet flavor that melds nicely with lots of other flavors. This first photo, by the way, doesn't have a single butternut squash in it. I should have stood next to these squash so you could really get a sense of proportion. These are all ginormous squash! The squash at the back is taller than I am! Butternut squash can get large, but not that large! I usually choose one that's just one or two pounds. The skin is easily peeled off, with either a paring knife or a vegetable peeler. Then, simply cut the squash in two, scoop out the seeds, and you're ready to go!


3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tsp olive oil, divided
3 cups cubed butternut squash
2 Tbs thinly sliced shallots
1/2 tsp minced garlic
7-8 fresh sage leaves (optional)
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tsp saffron threads (optional)
1/4 cup soy creamer
1/4 cup Parmesan
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel, remove seeds, and cube a butternut squash so that you've got about 3 cups of cubed squash. Mix squash with 1 tsp of the olive oil, add 1/4 tsp of sea salt, and spread squash on a baking pan. Roast the squash for about 25 to 30 minutes, checking the squash after 15 minutes and turning it so that it doesn't brown too much on just one side.

Meanwhile, heat the stock in the microwave until it is hot, but not boiling. Add 1 tsp of olive oil to a nonstick frying pan, and set on a medium burner. Add the shallot and stir for about 1 minute. Add the garlic, sage leaves, if using, and the rice and stir until the rice just begins to color, about one or two additional minutes. Add the wine and stir occasionally until the wine is absorbed. Add the saffron now, if using. Add the stock to the pan, 1/2 to 1 cup at a time, stirring to incorporate and waiting until the stock is absorbed to add more stock. Continue adding stock until the rice begins to taste tender. This should take about 18 to 20 minutes. Add the creamer as the last liquid addition, then stir. Add the Parmesan, and fold in the cooked squash. Correct the seasoning by adding salt and pepper.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Adding squash to a well liked dish, like risotto, may be a new stealthy way to sneak veggies into your family meals!

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