Winter squashes have made their way back to the produce section. There are so many varieties to choose from! I really love cooking with butternut squash. The first time I ever cooked butternut squash was in college and I made a risotto with it. My roommates and I were cooking dinner for whoever wanted to come… which quickly turned into a weekly tradition. This dish has a lot of great memories for me! I love the amazing aromas and flavors this risotto has with the squash, browned butter, sage, and rosemary. Believe me, your kitchen will smell heavenly.
A tip: When you are choosing your squash, try to get one that has most of its size in the long part near the stem. This part of the squash is all useable, so we want it as thick as possible. The bottom part (the rounded section), is where the seeds are. The seeds get thrown away.
To make the butternut squash “puree” you have 2 options. You can actually roast the squash. Cut it lengthwise and put on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until softened. What I usually end up doing (for time’s sake) is just microwaving it. To do this, take your squash and then pierce it all over with a fork. Yep… start stabbing… carefully! Then, put the WHOLE squash on a plate and into the microwave. Cook time will vary depending on how big your squash is. I usually start microwaving on high for about 6 minutes. Carefully (it will be hot!), press on it to see if it is soft. Flip and continue cooking as needed. It will need to be softened completely through. Allow to cool and then slice open lengthways.
Once your squash is soft and cooled, scoop out the seeds (they are in the rounded part at the bottom). These can be thrown away. Everything else… all that orangey stuff… is the good part! Scoop this out and mash it in a bowl. Don’t worry if it is a little bit chunky… This will just add more texture to the risotto. And voila… butternut squash “puree”… my way!
Butternut Squash Risotto: (6 servings)
- 7 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons minced sage
- 2/3 cups caramelized onions
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
- 2 cups butternut squash, cooked and pureed
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- In a small pan melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the sage and cook over medium heat until slightly browned. Be careful not to burn the butter! Strain out the sage and set the butter aside… keeping it warm
- Whisk together the pureed squash and chicken broth in a large pan. Simmer and then keep hot.
- In a separate pan, heat the oil at medium heat. Add the caramelized onions and rice. Stir these ingredients for about three minutes. Next, stir in 1 tablespoon of sage and rosemary. (this is when everything starts to smell really good!) Add the wine and stir until the liquid is completely absorbed.
- Now, add the chicken stock mixture 1/2 cup at a time while stirring. Allow the liquid to be absorbed before you add another 1/2 cup of the stock to the rice. This whole process takes roughly about 30 minutes. Be patient and take your time!!
- Stir in 3 tablespoons of butter and the grated cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Allow to stand for a few minutes. Then, before serving.. drizzle the risotto with the warm, browned, sage butter made earlier.