With Autumn comes lots of wonderful fall veggies. One of my favorites is butternut squash, so when I found a really good one last week I was very excited. I contemplated all week long what I wanted to make with it, there are so many good things: butternut squash ravioli, butternut squash soup, roasted butternut squash, butternut squash bread pudding . . .you get the picture. I finally decided that I wanted to try a butternut squash risotto, I had eaten a sweet potatoe one a few weeks ago and loved it - so the thought of trying one with butternut squash sounded even better!
After searching through all my cookbooks and on-line I found this recipe for butternutt squash risotto that I decided to follow. I have never made a risotto before, mostly because it is supposed to be hard to make. But after reading through the directions, I realized it really isn't all that challenging to make, you just have to have patience because there are multiple steps and it just takes along time to make good risotto!
Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage
serves 4 (or one with multiple containers for leftover meals)
1 small butternut squash (you will probably use just one half)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small sweet onion, diced (I used shallots instead)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup arborio or carnaroli rice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup white wine
4-6 cups chicken stock, warmed on the stove in a pot
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
First you have to roast the butternut squash. There are other recipes which call for cubing the butternut squash and cooking it with the onions and garlic, but there is something about roasting that is so much better. I think it is the carmelization of the squash that doesn't occur with other methods of cooking it. So to roast it, I have found the best way is to cut into cubes and then lightly coat with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. I have also found that if you line a pan with aluminum foil first, it is much easier to clean up afterwards. Depending on the size of the cubes you can roast at 350 to 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes until desired doneness.
After about 20 minutes of roasting I decided to start the rest of the cooking process. Once the butternut squash got done, I just turned off the oven and let the pan sit until I was ready to use the squash.
With risotto you start with the onion first to soften.
Next step is to add the garlic for a minute or so, then the rice for just a few minutes until it starts to get golden.
The next step is to start to add the first of the liquids and any spice you are using. In this recipe it is a white wine, but you can use veggie or chicken broth for all of it.
From this point on, this is where it is a waiting a being patient game. You add a little heated stock (I used chicken) at a time, stir and let simmer until the liquid boils down. Repeat until all the stock is gone and the rice has taken on a creamy texture.
The author of this recipe suggests that you do other things in the kitchen during this process, such as clean, cut up and prepare other foods for the meal, or drink wine. I think I could get on board with this!
Drinking wine while cooking? Priceless! I also opted to clean my apartment at the same time. Worked well and looked something like this: take sip of wine, vacuum living room, stir risotto and add stock, gulp of wine, vacuum bedroom, sip of wine, stir risotto . . .you get the picture. All in all it was a very productive afternoon/eveing!
Last step is to add in the squash and cheese for the finished product! I ate mine as a maindish and added a spinach salad (and more wine) to round out this great meal!
My stats for the past few weeks:
9/6/10: 32 mile bike
9/7/10: 40 minute recovery run, 30 min strength train
9/8/10: rest (book club)
9/9/10: hour bike (17 miles), 30 min run
9/10/10: 2800 swim (200 warm up, 5x500, 100 cool down)
9/11/10: 10 mile run
9/12/10: Rev3 1/2 IM Relay - bike 56 miles (3:08)
9/13/10: 2000 swim
9/14/10: 55 minute run (5.5 miles?), 30 min strength
9/15/10: 17 mile bike
9/16/10: 40 minute run (4.25mile, middle 2 mile tempo run)
9/18/10: 6 mile run, 20 minute open water swim at Alum
9/19/10: 44 mile ride
9/20/10: 40 minute run
9/21/10: 2200 swim, 30 min strength