Risotto with Squash and Sage

I love ordering risotto in a restaurant. It’s one of those fussy dishes that I’d never go to the trouble of making at home (or so I thought). I got the itch to try it and gave this recipe a whirl. Maybe it was the novelty, or the unknown of how it would turn out, or that I got a kick out of watching grains absorb broth, but I didn’t mind the constant pouring and stirring. I kinda enjoyed it. It was relaxing. For 40 minutes all I had to worry about was stirring and pouring and taking care of what was in the pan. It forced me to stand still and focus on one thing. Everything else in my mind and on the to do (read: school, work, wedding) could wait. I think I’ve found my new therapy…

And when it was done and ready to eat, the result was therapy in itself. All that doting was worth it. You could taste all the love that went in. A perfect meal to enjoy with the ones you love most.

What you need:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (I cut this to 2 tbsp) (could substitute ghee or olive oil) 
4 cups 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes peeled and seeded butternut squash
1.5 teaspoon golden brown sugar or coconut sugar
6 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth (I substituted 2 cups of water)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
2 cups arborio rice
1/3 to 2/3 cup dry white wine. Use whatever you’ve got on hand.
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add squash. Sprinkle with sugar, then salt and pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes, then cover; cook until almost tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Add chicken broth to a large saucepan and bring to simmer; cover and set aside to keep warm. In same skillet used for squash, heat the olive oil and add the onion. Sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Mix in sage and stir 1 minute.

Add rice; sauté until kernels are white with translucent edges, about 4 minutes. Add wine; stir until wine evaporates, about 1 minute.

Add 1 cup warm broth; simmer until broth is absorbed, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Add another cup of broth; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time and cooking until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Mix in parsley and squash. Cook until squash is heated, about 1 minute. Transfer risotto to large shallow bowl, or if you like, in hollowed-out squashes. Serve with the parmesan cheese, if you like.

  • I make this but use half parmesean and half gorgonzola or other soft cheese. Really good and not overpowering as it sounds. Can also top with some chopped walnuts.

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