Butternut Squash Risotto! - Indulging in Guilty Pleasures...
 
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Finally! Using up one of the three (3!!) Butternut Squash that came in our enormous Thanksgiving Farm Share. (This year Bard had a connection with one of the local farms, called Hearty Roots, and we were able to get a HUGE, and I mean HUUUUUGE, amount of vegetables for $45. They have lasted for ages, obviously, but it was a struggle and a challenge to figure out to do with some of the things, i.e. celeriac, daikon, etc...). I've been meaning to make Butternut Squash Risotto for quite some time and was finalyl able to last night. I used a recipe I found through Tastespotting (shocking, I know). This recipe was posted by Pink Parsley, and the photo credit goes to them as well.

Butternut Squash Risotto
(To see the original recipe, click here. This one includes my changes and comments!)
Serves 6 as a main course (trust me, we had 2 main course servings and there's a LOT left!), 8 - 10 as a side
Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 lbs), peeled, seeded, and dice into 1/2" cubes. (about 3 1/2 cups). Reserve fibers (guts) and seeds.*
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
4 cup (32oz.) low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
4 tbsp unsalted butter
3 large shallots, diced very fine (about 3/4 cup)
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
pinch of saffron threads (If you can find them...My local grocery stores apparently have something against saffron. I can't find it anywhere!!)
1 1/2 cup dry white wine (We used a 2008 Millbrook Chardonnay)
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp minced fresh sage leaves (We cheated and used ground sage. We used about 2 1/2 tsp)

Directions
* Butternut Squash is relatively easy to peel. Cut in half first, then use a good vegetable peeler or a paring knit to peel. Scoop out the guts/seeds and reserve them for flavoring the broth.
  • Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add about 3 1/2 cups squash in an even layer. Cook for 4-5 minutes without stirring.
  • Stir in 1/4 tsp of the salt and 1/4 tsp of the pepper. Cook an additional 5 minutes, or until squash is tender and browned, stirring often. (This took at least 10 minutes for me, because the squash had just come out of the refrigerator). Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  • Lower heat to medium. Add squash fibers and seeds to the skillet as well as any leftover diced squash you might have (We didn't have any extra diced squash. The fibers and seeds were enough to give the broth it's correct flavor). Cook, stirring frequently to break up the fibers, until lightly browned, ~ 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add chicken broth and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow to barely simmer over low medium-low heat.
  • Melt 3 tbsp of butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. When foam subsides, add shallots, garlic, and remaining salt and pepper. Cook until shallots have softened, 3 - 4 minutes.
  • Add rice and saffron to the skillet and toast, stirring often, until the grains are translucent around the edges (about 3 minutes).
  • Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until fully absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • While wine is evaporating, strain the hot broth through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl. Press on squash fibers and seeds to extract as much liquid as possible. Return broth to saucepan, and set over low heat to keep broth hot.
  • When wine has been completely absorbed, add 3 cups of hot broth and half the cooked squash to the skillet. Simmer, stirring every few minutes, until liquid has been absorbed and the bottom of the pan is almost dry, ~ 12 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of broth at a time and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed between each addition. Repeat 2 times, or until rice is cooked to al dente (I almost didn't need to add the last 1/2 cup, but I like my rice a tiny bit softer than al dente. Taste your rice to check its texture and stop when it's pleasing to you).
  • Remove from heat and stir in remaining butter, Parmesan, sage, and nutmeg.
  • Gently fold in the remaining squash. If needed, add an additional 1/4 cup of broth to loosen the texture of the risotto (Should not be necessary). Serve immediately.
YUM! The Parmesan we used was very tangy as was the Chardonnay, so it had a real bite to it. Absolutely delicious. Really try to avoid using grated Parmesan that you buy in a container..It's not the same!

Now I just have to figure out what to do with the rest of my veggies...Bon appetit a tous!



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