Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

roasted-butternut-squash-risotto

Oh me ~ oh my!  I’ve gone and done it again.

There are very few foods that I enjoy THAT much that I can eat the ENTIRE thing myself, but this is one.

The only other time I can really remember eating the whole thing by myself was when I made my ‘Not Your Mama’s Greenbeans’.   Now I have two.

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If you’ve never made risotto before, this recipe is a wonderful place to start.   Risotto is more labor intensive than other rice dishes because you can never really leave it as it’s cooking.   As the risotto is simmering, chicken stock is added a ladle full at a time absorbing fully each time before more is added.

This gives the rice the time to absorb the liquid slowly, resulting in a creamy, velvety risotto.

Risotto is a luxurious dish that can be eaten as an entrée (which we already know I did) which is great for a Meatless Monday, during Lent or as a Vegetarian meal.

Here are some tips I have learned along the way when making risotto which will hopefully help you too!

  • Do not wash the rice first.  This will release their starches too early.
  • Sauteeing the rice in butter first coats the kernels in fat which, again, prevents the rice from releasing the starch too quickly.  It also gives the rice that nice nutty flavor.
  • Shallots are the preferred onion to use in risottos due to their mild flavor.  Second choice (for me) would be white onion.
  • Make sure to add warm, simmering broth, never cold.
  • Do not add more than 1/2 cup liquid at a time.  Just as important, make sure the liquid is almost fully absorbed before adding more.
  • Stir constantly, preferably with a wooden spoon.
  • Always take the pan OFF the heat at the end when adding cream or butter and stir vigorously.
  • Risotto should be done 18 minutes after the first ladle full of broth is added.
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Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Ingredients

ROASTING THE SQUASH:

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

FOR THE RISOTTO:

  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup shallot, finely diced
  • 3 cups chicken broth (I used THIS)
  • 3/4 cup squash puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
  • pine nuts

Instructions

ROASTING THE SQUASH:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375. Let it remain at that temp for at least 10 min before putting in the squash.
  2. Combine the cubed squash with the syrup, salt and olive oil. Arrange it on a large baking sheet – you may need 2 depending on the amount of squash that was cubed. Do not overcrowd the squash or it will steam. You’re better off using 2 baking sheets to ensure the squash roasts.
  3. Roast for approximately 30 min until the squash is tender and golden.
  4. Let the squash cool a little and puree about 1 cups worth in a food processor. Set the remaining squash aside to add to the risotto later.
  5. In the meantime, bring the chicken stock to a slow simmer over low heat in a small saucepan.

FOR THE RISOTTO:

  1. In a large skillet (not a saucepan) add the butter over low/medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until soft, approx. 4 min.
  2. Add the rice and sauté for approximately 3-4 minutes, stirring to ensure it doesn’t burn.
  3. Add 3/4 cup chicken stock, then the squash puree and spices. Cook, stirring constantly, until most (not all) of the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Continue adding chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time and letting the rice absorb most of it before adding more. Remember to stir! Cooking time should be 18 minutes.
  5. Take the rice off the heat and stir in the cream, cubed squash and pine nuts.
  6. Once all the cream is absorbed, plate the risotto and serve immediately.

Recipe Source:  HappilyUnprocessed.com
I used all organic ingredients when making this recipe, and hope you do too! 🙂

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