Wednesday 12 February 2014

Butternut Squash Risotto

Risotto is very adaptable to just about any veggie you are in the mood for.  The butternut squash I grew last year stored very well and I still have plenty on hand (although I did have to discard a couple of acorn squash that had some rot).  This is such a delicious way to enjoy squash!

Most risotto recipes call for white wine - it helps with flavour, of course, but I suspect it is the acidity that is the main purpose as it helps to balance the butter and cheese.  I did not have any on hand so I replaced it with some sake and lemon juice. 

2 cups squash, small dice
2 large shallots, minced
1 cup arborio rice
Lemon juice
4-5 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup parmesan

*Instead of the sake and lemon juice combination, you can use 1/4 cup white wine for a more traditional risotto.

Keep the chicken stock warm in a pot on the stove.  Most stock comes in 1 litre (4 cup) tetra packages.  Since this could take up to 5 cups, I usually add 1 cup of water to the stock early on so it is heated up along with the stock.

Saute the squash in some olive oil and butter until tender.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Add another tablespoon each of olive oil and butter and saute the shallots for 3-4 minutes. 

Add the arborio rice and stir until coated with the oil/butter.  Cook for a minute or two then add a large splash of sake and 1/4 cup lemon juice (or replace both of these with the white wine).

Once this liquid has absorbed, begin to add the chicken stock about a 1/2 cup at a time.  Continue until you've added about half of the stock.

At this point, return the squash to the rice (I also had some sharp aged cheddar on hand so threw 2 ounces in at this point).   Continue adding the stock until the rice is cooked and creamy.


Stir in the parmesan cheese along with salt and pepper to taste.  Just before serving, add a dab of butter to make it extra creamy.

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