Pumpkins and winter squashes like the butternut and acorn varieties are both of the gourd family and can be used interchangeably in most cases.
I love the flavor of the sweet “meat” of butternut squash. It’s my favorite of the winter squashes. I use it in soups, salads, and dishes like risotto.
Risotto sounds complicated, but it is actually very easy to make. All it takes is a little patience to wait for the rice to absorb the liquid. Once you start cooking, it does require a fair amount of attention, but it doesn't take more than a 30 minutes to make.
The first step is to roast the butternut squash until tender.
When making risotto, it is important to have everything ready before you start cooking. Risotto waits for no one and is perfect the second it is done. I measure, chop, and gather all of the ingredients and have them in bowls beside the stovetop ready to go while the squash is roasting. This includes warming the stock in a saucepot. I also have my trusty wooden stirring spoon within reach.
Patience is key. Stir in the simmering stock only about 1/2 cup at a time. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding the next ladle full. The gradual addition of liquid is trick to making a good risotto. Be patient. I guarantee it will be worth the wait. The risotto is done when the rice is tender, but still firm.
This is the basic recipe for making risotto. Once you have mastered this simple recipe, you can make any flavor combination you are craving.
This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Bon Appetit!
Butternut Squash Risotto
- 1 medium butternut squash (about 1 pound)
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion (half a small onion)
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Peel, halve, and remove the seeds from the squash. Cut it into 1/2-inch pieces. In a medium saucepan place the squash and enough water to cover by 1-inch. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until fork-tender, but not too soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a medium saucepot over high heat, bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to low.
In a large saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter and oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon, making sure all the grains are coated. Cook until translucent, about 1 or minutes. Add the white wine and simmer uncovered until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup of the stock. The risotto is done when the rice is tender, but still firm.
Stir in the cooked squash and the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the squash is reheated and the cheese is melted, about 2 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Variation: For a vegetarian version, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
Reprinted with permission from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler.