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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

This is one of my favorite Fall recipes.  As soon as the farms start putting out huge bins of butternut squash for 69 cents a pound, I know it's time.  Risotto is time consuming, for sure, with the constant stirring, but it's not hard.  And if you set yourself up with a cocktail (or a kitchen partner who likes to stir), you're all set.

I used an entire butternut squash (nearly four pounds) in this, but Jon pointed out that the ratio of squash to risotto was a little large.  I responded that since squash is healthy, that means we get to eat more.  If you do keep some leftovers aside, try tossing the roasted squash pieces with chopped apple, dried cranberries, goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. 


Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
modified from Barefoot Contessa

1 butternut squash (2-4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-1 inch chunks
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 small onion, diced
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel and cube squash.  Some people (me) have an allergic reaction to raw butternut squash.  The skin on my hands gets all weird and tight after I handle it. It's less than ideal.  To avoid this issue, I pierce the skin of the squash a few times and microwave for a few minutes to start the cooking process.  This also results in squash that is slightly easier to chop, which decreases the risk of cutting your hand off.  Winning, all around.
On a baking sheet, toss the squash cubes in olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
Roast for 40 minutes, flipping once, until tender and starting to caramelize on the edges.

I usually start my risotto about 20 minutes into the squash roasting.
In a saucepan, heat broth over medium low heat.
In a large pot (I use a Dutch oven), heat butter and 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
Saute the onion for a few minutes, until slightly softened.
Add in the arborio rice and cook, stirring, for a minute or two.
Pour broth into rice mixture, one ladleful at a time, stirring constantly until absorbed.
Repeat until all the broth has been used, and the risotto is creamy.  This is the step when you want to have a drink ready at hand, it takes a good 20+ minutes. 
Mix butternut squash into risotto.
Garnish with Parmesan cheese.


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