Maybe it's the real winter that we've been having in California this year or the looming prospect of finals but I was in the mood for some comfort food, particularly of the Butternut Squash variety.
After some light research I came across a basic risotto recipe that seemed to satisfy my hankering for cheesy comfort food as well as using up the bundle of random ingredients.
So What is Risotto You Ask?
Risotto is a classic Italian rice dish made from arborio rice, which is an Italian rice with a high starch content. The milky quality of this rice creates the signature creaminess of risotto without the addition of a sauce.
Butternut Squash Risotto
- Prep Time:25 mins
- Cook Time:30 mins
- Total Time:55 mins
- 1 medium onion
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups arborio rice
- cup white wine
- 6-8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3-4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- One butternut squash chopped into squares and roasted
- 1 carton button mushrooms
Buying prepacked prepped butternut squash will save you a lot of hassle, I got these cute zigzag cut pieces in the produce section at Trader Joe's. But if you're feeling adventurous and want to break down the squash yourself, here's what to do:
First, start by peeling the squash. Because of the curved shape, you should go slow and use a good peeler.
Next, give yourself as stable a base as possible, and slice the peeled squash in half horizontally. Then, slice the two smaller halves vertically so it will not roll as you continue to chop into 2 inch pieces.
Coat the squash liberally in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400° for 20-25 minutes until a knife punctures the flesh easily. Remove and let cool.
Melt the butter in a large pot on a medium heat, a dutch oven will work best but any pot will do.
In a separate pot begin warm a pot of broth.
I cooked the veggies in order of how long they take to break down. Beginning with a chopped yellow onion and garlic with for about 10 minutes until soft and fragrant, season liberally. It was about 5 minutes into cooking the onions in butter that my housemates begin to emerge from their studying caves and see what was cooking.
To the softened onions, I added the mushrooms and cooked until they were brown. Last but not least adding the roasted butternut squash.
Add the rice and stir until it is completely coated in butter. Make sure there is enough fat in the pan or the rice will stick to the bottom, you can certainly add more butter or olive oil.
As the rice toasts it'll brown a bit and have a light, toasty aroma.
Now for my favorite part.
Open a bottle of white wine, you want to use something you would drink because the flavor will come through in your dish.
That being said in most college households the standard for 'drinkable' is quite low. We went with something in the $5 range, and honestly don't judge us, it was drinkable af.
Anyways, pour half a cup (ish, I won't judge) of your chosen wine into your bubbling veggies and rice and stir. The wine will make the really delightful "tsssssssss" noise as it hits the pan and deglazes all those yummy brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
Stir it around take in the smells.
You're doing great.
Now comes the labor intensive stage.
Patience is key in this stirring stage. So go ahead and put on your favorite tunes and grab your stirring spoon. Add the stock to the rice mixture one ladle at a time, stirring to incorporate.
Continue this process adding between 6 to 8 cups of liquid until the stock is completely absorbed. Stirring constantly, this process will take 15-20 minutes.
Remember when I said the wine step was my favorite step?
Well cheese step, I'm sorry I got over excited when I saw cheap wine, I love you dearly cheese.
So on this co-favorite step, grate in your chosen cheese into the pan and stir, watching as the now fluffy rice gets even more ooey, gooey, and fantastic.
To plate your risotto add an extra shaving of cheese to your dish, and if you're feeling adventurous, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.
Consider yourself thoroughly impressive and comforted as you dig into your delectable dish.
We certainly did.
If you have leftover butternut squash or want to try out the gourd in something else, check out this other spoon recipe for 5-ingredient butternut squash soup!