I Love Risotto in the Springtime - Butternut Squash Risotto - Sweet Potato Chronicles - Sweet Potato Chronicles

I Love Risotto in the Springtime — Butternut Squash Risotto

When Ben and I started dat­ing he was liv­ing in Brook­lyn. As well as rack­ing up lots of air miles we also spent a lot of time on the phone. In lieu of a real date, we'd often cook together/apart on the phone. Risotto was and still is one of his favourite things to make so we'd often both be mak­ing it on these phone dates. Which makes sense since risotto mak­ing is a nice slow process — you couldn't be mak­ing risotto on one end of the line and a stir fry on the other. It's nice to have com­pany when mak­ing this dish, whether your pal is on the phone or in your kitchen. Con­trary to pop­u­lar belief you don't need to stir risot­tos con­stantly but you do have to be nearby to give them a stir every few min­utes. Ben was work­ing late last night but I did have a lit­tle friend with me.

I wanted to cre­ate a dou­ble duty din­ner last night and remem­bered I had a but­ter­nut squash in the fridge. I decided to make a risotto and a batch of baby food while I was at it. Once I had the oven heated up I real­ized there was also a sweet potato in the fridge and wrapped in foil to bake for baby food, too. Risotto is a nice change from pasta, which Esme would eat every day of her life given the chance. And like pasta, risotto has end­less vari­a­tions. Once you get the basic tech­nique down you can take it any­where. This is a nice, healthy veg­e­tar­ian version.

But­ter­nut Squash Risotto

1 medium onion diced
2 cloves of gar­lic minced
1 cup arbo­rio rice
1 small-ish zuc­chini, cut in half length-wise and then slice into half moons
1 but­ter­nut squash
5 cups veg­etable stock (could be chicken if you aren't look­ing to cre­ate a veg­e­tar­ian dish)
1 cup grated parme­san cheese
3 or 4 sage leaves chopped
pinch nut­meg
salt and pep­per to taste

Pre-heat over to 450 degrees

Cut your but­ter­nut squash in half and scoop out the guts. Slice the squash into slices about 1 or 2 inches thick. Place on a bak­ing tray or pan and put in the oven for about 45 to 50 min­utes. Check it with a fork to see if it's soft.

Run a knife just above the skin so you have one big piece of squash flesh. I chopped up 2 of the slices into cubes and put them aside for the end of the recipe. Puree the rest of the squash. You may need to add a lit­tle water to thin it out as it can be very thick. I used about one cup of puree for the risotto and put aside for baby food. And gave a lit­tle bit to Julian as I was cook­ing. He gets very cross when he can see food and isn't offered any. Who doesn't?

Bring your stock to sim­mer in one pot. Do this as you're get­ting your other veg­eta­bles ready. You only want to add hot stock to a risotto.

Sautee onion, gar­lic and zuc­chini in a good glug of olive oil until they smell great and start to soften a bit. You want enough oil that when you add the rice in a minute it gets a light coat of oil so don't skimp too much.

Add the rice and stir around to coat it in the oil. Stir for a minute or so but when it starts to stick it's time to move on to the stock.

Add the stock to the rice about one cup at a time. And stir. Allow each new amount to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next. It will take about twenty min­utes or so. Have a glass of wine. Flirt with your boyfriend. Give your baby some pureed squash. It can't be rushed. Keep stir­ring every few minutes

Once you've got the fourth cup of stock incor­po­rated start tast­ing the rice. It should be al dente, which means that you don't want com­pletely mushy rice. There should be a bit of "tooth" to the rice. You might not need all of the last cup of stock. Add the cup of pureed squash, the sage and the nut­meg. Then throw in the parme­san and the cubed squash. Taste again before adding salt and pep­per. Most stocks are very salty so you may only need pepper.

At the table add another lit­tle dust­ing of parme­san to each plate. Esme objected to the pieces of squash but I didn't care since there was lots of it mixed into the rice. Enjoy!


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