So. I’m pretty sure this butternut squash risotto is what fall tastes like. Risotto is one of my favorite dishes on its own- tender, creamy, and slow cooked until the rice has the perfect texture. But add in cooked butternut squash, nutmeg, sage, and Parmesan? Creamy, cheesy, perfection. This recipe makes a whole bunch (that arborio really swells!), but it freezes well, and makes the best side dish to accompany a light entree. Something this flavorful though, is probably going to end up as the main dish on my table with some crusty bread and a glass of red wine. Probably more than once this fall.
Start by peeling, and chopping up about 2 cups worth of butternut squash into small cubes. That’s about half of a regular sized squash. Set them aside. Hard part’s done!
Heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. I like to use cast iron. Meanwhile, bring 6 1/2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil in a separate sauce pan. Keep the stock going at a mild boil while you are making your risotto. If the stock gets too cool, adding it to the pan will slow down the cooking process.
Add in the butternut squash. Season with salt and pepper. Heat until the squash is a dark golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Toss the squash occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove it to a plate and set aside.
Add another tablespoon of butter back into the same skillet. Toss in some onion and garlic, and saute for about 4 minutes, gently stirring.
Reduce the heat down to medium low. Pour in a cup and a half of arborio rice- a little goes a long way! Stir it around and let it toast for about 2 minutes.
Time to start simmering. Add in 1 cup at a time of your boiling veggie broth. Give the rice a quick stir, and let it soak up all that flavor until there is no liquid left. Repeat, adding in 1 cup, stirring occasionally until it’s absorbed, and pouring in the next cup.
The rice will gradually absorb the liquid until you have used up all 6 1/2 cups. 6 1/2 is what I needed to get my rice to the right consistency, but depending on your cookware and temperature, you’ll most likely use between 5 and 7 cups. Just taste test along the way. You want the arborio to be softened, but still have a small bit of bite to it. The whole process took me about 45 minutes.
Now that the rice is fully cooked, we can make it cheesy and delicious. Sprinkle about half (1/4 cup) of the Parmesan cheese onto the rice and stir it in. Do the same with some nutmeg, adding in 1/4 teaspoon.
Add all 2 cups worth of your butternut squash. Gently stir it in. The arborio is so hot that it will break down some of the squash and fully incorporate it into the mixture. That’s exactly what we want.
The consistency was a little too sticky, so I added 1/4 cup of milk. Give that a quick stir then mix in the rest of the Parmesan.
That’s the good stuff right there. Sprinkle with some freshly chopped sage and enjoy the taste of fall.