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Risotto is such a hearty and inexpensive dish, and so versatile. I think the longer cooking time and the fact that you have to “babysit” it a little often deters people, but it’s really a nice alternative to rice and elegant enough to entertain with. The possibilities are endless as far as what you can add – mushrooms, asparagus, seafood, purees, simply some butter and fontina cheese. If you’ve never attempted risotto before, give it a try! You might never go back to plain rice again.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Serves 4

For the puree:

1 medium butternut squash (enough for 1 cup cooked puree)

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. water or chicken stock

*Note – the squash pictured below was large enough that I ended up with double the quantity of puree – I simply froze half to use another time, either for more risotto or even some butternut squash soup.

For the risotto:

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ cups Arborio rice

4 cups chicken stock

1 tsp. salt (or more to taste, depending on how salty the stock is)

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

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1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. Slice the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a small spoon

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3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

4. Roast for about an hour, until fork tender.

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5. Let the squash cool completely, then scoop out the flesh with a large spoon and blend with a splash (1 tsp. or so) of water or chicken stock until smooth.

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6. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat; add Arborio rice and stir to coat the rice in the oil

7. Let the rice cook for about 2 minutes, stirring once or twice.

8. Meanwhile, in a medium pot warm up the chicken stock until it is just barely boiling; you will want to keep the heat on medium-low or low to keep the stock warm while you cook the rice.

9. Using a large ladle, add 1 ladle-full of stock to the rice and stir for 2-3 minutes. It’s important to keep stirring the rice every 30 seconds so that the starches are released and the rice thickens.

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10. For the next 18-20 minutes, as the rice absorbs the stock, add more liquid one ladle at a time and keep stirring! When it looks like the rice has absorbed the liquid, add another ladle-full.

11. After about 15 minutes of cooking, add the squash puree in place of more stock. Stir to combine and let cook another 3-5 minutes. If your rice doesn’t seem quite cooked, repeat the process with another ladle of stock and cook a few minutes longer. The rice should be “al dente”; not mushy but not crunchy either.

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12. At this point, taste the rice and add some salt if necessary. Depending on the brand of stock you use, some are saltier than others.

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13. Turn off the heat and add 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter and ½ cup grated parmesan cheese; stir to combine.

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14. Serve with additional parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, if desired.

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Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Risotto
 
Author:
Recipe type: Rice, First Course
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For the puree:
  • 1 medium butternut squash (enough for 1 cup cooked puree)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. water or chicken stock
  • For the risotto:
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. salt (or more to taste, depending on how salty the stock is)
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a small spoon
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  4. Roast for about an hour, until fork tender.
  5. Let the squash cool completely, then scoop out the flesh with a large spoon and blend with a splash (1 tsp. or so) of water or chicken stock until smooth.
  6. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat; add Arborio rice and stir to coat the rice in the oil
  7. Let the rice cook for about 2 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  8. Meanwhile, in a medium pot warm up the chicken stock until it is just barely boiling; you will want to keep the heat on medium-low or low to keep the stock warm while you cook the rice.
  9. Using a large ladle, add 1 ladle-full of stock to the rice and stir for 2-3 minutes. It’s important to keep stirring the rice every 30 seconds so that the starches are released and the rice thickens.
  10. For the next 18-20 minutes, as the rice absorbs the stock, add more liquid one ladle at a time and keep stirring! When it looks like the rice has absorbed the liquid, add another ladle-full.
  11. After about 15 minutes of cooking, add the squash puree in place of more stock. Stir to combine and let cook another 3-5 minutes. If your rice doesn’t seem quite cooked, repeat the process with another ladle of stock and cook a few minutes longer. The rice should be “al dente”; not mushy but not crunchy either.
  12. At this point, taste the rice and add some salt if necessary. Depending on the brand of stock you use, some are saltier than others.
  13. Turn off the heat and add 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter and ½ cup grated parmesan cheese; stir to combine.
  14. Serve with additional parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, if desired.
  15. Enjoy!

 

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