Friday, November 1, 2013

Butternut Squash Risotto

I eat the hell out of butternut squash this time of year, come mid November I will be tired of them and that is a good thing.  Every fall you should at least make bs soup.  We even put that shit on our pizza pies.  Butternut squash is tasty, healthy, and tres cheap.  The only intimidating thing might be how to approach the slaughter.  A good sharp knife is key.  Santa (thanks Mom!) brought me this big ass cleaver which gets most use breaking down giant veg like squash.  Once you peel it and scoop out the seeds and soft flesh, it's just a matter of slicin and dicin.

We often have risotto when there is some leftover white wine from a fish entree, you definitely need wine in this recipe to max flavor compounds.  Most every time I cook with wine I think of that quote by somebody, "I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food."

The recipe below is for a double batch of risotto, as freezing leftovers for lunch is way better than shelling out $6 at Subway.  And the guy at my Subway sing-talks your order and checkout, which is kind of annoying. 

A risotto myth is that you have to stand there and stir constantly for 30 minutes.  You could do that if you wanted, but its certainly not necessary.  The arborio rice likes to swell gradually, which is why you add the stock in increments.  The stirring part comes just before and just after each addition.  While the lovely liquid is being absorbed, it doesn't need constant stirring.  Just don't walk away and do a load of laundry or wash the dog.   

See you next winter.  I'm on vaca.  Food and Wine Expo at EPCOT.  Disney with the young foodie and the in-laws.  We're freaking magically excited! 

Butternut Squash Risotto
6-8 servings

10 C low-sodium chicken broth
4 TB unsalted butter
4 C diced butternut squash, 1/4" dice
2 medium onions, 1/4" dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 C dry white wine
2 C good parmigiano reggiano
3 C arborio rice
2 TB unsalted butter
parsley/chives/sage garnish

Warm the stock in a medium pot on a back burner of your stovetop, probably the one for 'simmer'.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the EVOO.  Once hot, saute the  squash cubes (season with a pinch of S&P) for about 8-10 minutes, stirring often, until softened.  Introduce the onion, cook for about 4-5 minutes, until softened, stir occasionally.  Add the garlic during the last 60 seconds.

Deglaze the skillet with the wine, scraping up and browned bits with a wooden spatula.  Reduce the wine and cook off for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and begin to add the stock, 1/2 C or so at a time, stirring with each addition.  Add more stock once each phase is absorbed by the rice, total cooking time will be about 25-30 minutes, until creamy and tender yet firm to the bite, aka al dente.  You may have a 1/2-1 C or so leftover stock, depending on your preferred texture.

Once tender to your liking, add the 2 TB butter and 1 C of the king of cheeses, parm-reg.  Stir well and remove from the heat.  You may also want to season with S&P and add a colorful garnish such as chopped chives, parsley, or even some torn sage leaves.  Plate and then top with more cheese please.   

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