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Butternut Squash Risotto

. A very good vegetarian option if you have vegetable stock on hand. I start out with finely diced yellow onions, sauteed in olive oil with a good pinch of kosher salt. When they are translucent, add the diced squash (the smaller dice the faster it cooks - just choose a size you want in your dish) and sautee until just becoming tender - at that point I usually remove half the mixture mostly to make space in the pan - but also to ensure that I have some good texture at the end. Add arborio rice to the pan (as much as you want - 2 cups is probably plenty for a family of four). Stir with your Italian grandmother's wooden spoon until it starts to crackle a little bit, get all the rice coated and tossed. then add white wine, just enough to almost cover the rice. stir thoroughly then let it sit until the wine is absorbed and more liquid is needed. Add a ladle or two of stock (homemade and heated in a saucepan next to your risotto if you are really on top of it - I sometimes just pour right out of the chicken stock box). stir thoroughly and wait for it to "talk to you" or crackle a little for more stock. continue stirring and waiting and adding more liquid. after a while you can start tasting for doneness. at this point, add the rest of the squash back in. al dente rice is what you are going for - i think that is the theory behind adding just a little liquid at once. At the end it is tasty to add something a little rich. a couple pats of butter or some shredded cheese - pecorino romano worked great. definitely add salt and pepper and make sure to taste for enough salt. you can be creative with your seasonings - curry, nutmeg, cinnamon, fresh sage or rosemary. crisped pancetta could be a nice accompaniment. Enjoy!

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