Butternut Squash Risotto

Two of my most favorite things are risotto and butternut squash…so obviously putting the two together creates a comforting yet gourmet meal, in just 45 minutes. I know that making a risotto seems intimidating, but it’s actually very easy if you understand the technique and don’t mind hanging out in the kitchen for 25-30 minutes. I find that making risotto is almost relaxing…the constant stirring and wonderful aromas that fill the kitchen are cooking therapy to me, helping me unwind from a long day. The biggest secret for cooking a risotto correctly is heating your cooking liquid before adding it to the rice. It prevents interruption to the cooking process…so bring your broth to a boil and keep it on low heat in a saucepan next to your risotto pan. This dish is also really pretty…Sorry for the bad iPhone photo!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of peeled and finely diced butternut squash
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 small onion chopped, about 1/2 cup
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 cups of Arborio rice (best type of rice for risotto)
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 6-8 cups of chicken broth, kept warm on the stove
  • 1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Chopped crispy bacon – Optional

Directions

  1. Pierce holes in your butternut squash with a knife in several places and place butternut squash on a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 5-6 minutes on high. This will help you peel your squash and make cutting it a lot easier. Dice.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring your broth to a boil and keep warm on low heat.
  3. Melt butter in a heavy bottomed dutch oven or braiser on medium heat. (I use my Le Creuset braiser for essentially everything) Add the butternut squash, garlic and onion and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the rice to the pan, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine. Cook, stirring constantly until the all the liquid is absorbed into the rice. Add 2 ladles of broth to the rice, and stir until absorbed. Continue adding the broth in small amount, stirring until absorbed before adding more.
  5. Continue adding broth and stirring until the rice is tender, about 15-20 minutes. The rice should still have a little bite to it, it should not be completely soft. Test the rice throughout the process to prevent overcooking.
  6. When the rice is tender, add salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and combine until melted.
  7. Serve risotto in shallow bowls and top with additional Parmesan and bacon, if desired.

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