Whether we are ready for it or not, Fall is here. October means leaves changing, cooler weather, and Fall vegetables coming to the markets. On my last trip to Trader Joe's, I picked up a beautiful butternut squash and decided to make some risotto. Risotto has a bad reputation of being super difficult to make, but in reality, it's super easy! You just have to pay attention. Risotto is also an excellent dish for having people over because just about everyone loves it, it's gluten-free, and it's hearty enough to satisfy any meat eater. By pan frying the butternut squash instead of roasting, you get a nice texture on the squash and the flavor will explode in the risotto.
What you'll need:
1 butternut squash, diced into bite size pieces
1 medium onion, diced
5-6 large cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups aborio rice
4-5 cups of vegetable stock
1 1/2-2 cups white wine
5-6 sage leaves, chopped finely
a handful of grated parmesan cheese
What you'll do:
Now you are going to need three burners for this dish; don't freak out! You can do it
In a large frying pan on medium high heat, drizzle in some olive oil and add in the diced butternut squash. Brown on all sides and remove from heat.
In a medium pot on medium low heat, heat up the vegetable stock. You just want to heat it up, you don't want it to boil.
In a large shallow pot on medium, drizzle in some olive oil and add in the onion and the aborio rice. Saute until the rice turns a barely golden color. Reduce heat to medium low.
Add in a cup of the vegetable stock and mix.
So this is where risotto gets it's bad reputation. You have to stand over the pot and pay attention.
When the liquid is almost entirely absorbed, add in another cup of broth. Continue to do this for about 20 minutes. This will happen fairly quickly. After about 10 minutes add in the chopped garlic and alternately add wine and broth. When the rice is al dente add in the last dosage of the liquid. The risotto should not be too dry or it will become chewy.
Mix in the sage and the optional cheese. Then gently add in the butternut squash.