after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Butternut Squash Risotto

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t says: I never order risotto at restaurants.  Why?  Well, I guess it’s because when I was growing up, rice was always white and plain (just how I like it).  I have come to find there is actually a lot of flavor in plain white rice if cooked correctly, but that’s for another post another time.  The thought of “Italian rice” made with wine and broths, featuring other flavors like squashes, mushrooms, or meats always struck me as peculiar.  And, to be quite honest, whenever I tasted someone else’s at a restaurant, it had always failed to taste more-than-good.  I then watched an episode of Hell’s Kitchen (which is rare as it’s far from my favorite food-related show) where Gordon kept screaming about the poor quality of a cheftestant’s seafood risotto.  I figured, “well, if he’s that upset, then it should be easy to make, right?”.

For my first ever attempt, I opted for a butternut squash risotto, as I had seen several renditions of this recipe throughout foodnetwork.  The following was adapted from Ina’s and Giada’s recipes.  The end result was pretty good; g and I would happily eat it again.  I’d normally be more critical of my (or any) dishes, but I don’t have a decent measuring stick – I guess I should try out more risottos in restaurants now!


__ 1 butternut squash (~2 lbs)
__ 2 Tbs olive oil
__ Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
__ 6 c chicken stock (we used Kitchen Basics “Unsalted”)
__ 5 Tbs unsalted butter (<0.75 stick) + more if needed
__ 2-3 links of Italian sausage, casing removed
__ 0.5 c minced shallots (2 large) (we forgot to buy these, so we used an onion)
__ 1.5 c Arborio rice (~10 oz)
__ 0.5 c dry white wine (we used Sauvignon Blanc)
__ 1 tsp saffron threads (saffron’s pricey, so we omitted it – but it would be an interesting addition!)
__ 1 c freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
__ 1 vanilla bean (or 2 drops extract)
__ 2 Tbs chopped fresh chives


0)  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

1)  Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 0.75-inch cubes.  Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 0.5 tsp pepper.  Roast for 25-30 minutes (tossing once, halfway through).  Squash should be very tender.  Set aside.

2)  Combine chicken broth and vanilla in saucepan.  Heat to a very low simmer.

3)  In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven (we lack one of these, so we used a standard 4 quart pot – worked fine) over medium heat, melt the butter and cook the sausage (it’ll crumble) and shallots/onions on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots/onions are translucent but not browned.

4)  Add the rice to the onions/meat, and stir to coat the grains with butter.  Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes.  Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 0.75 tsp salt, and 0.5 tsp pepper.  Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes.  You may have to lower the heat – you don’t want a vigorous boil for this or the following steps, rather, a playful simmer.

5)  Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time and cooking/stirring until the mixture seems a little dry before adding more stock.  Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente (as the whole point of using Arborio rice is to retain some bitey texture), about 30 minutes total

6)  Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and the Parm-Reg.  Add more butter, cheese, or salt/pepper if needed (I think I added a little pepper).  Mix well.  Sprinkle with chives.  Serve immediately.  Leftovers aren’t as good in terms of texture, as the rice gets a little mushier in the microwave, but the flavors are still quite tasty (we ate it)!

g says: The leftovers of this risotto are delicious — don’t let t scare you!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

16 February 2010 at 12:21am

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