Ohhhh, friends. I think you’re gonna want to hug me after you make this. As much as I love food and enjoy all the food I make, there are a handful of dishes that stand out among the others as stellar. This risotto is one of those dishes. It has made it’s way into my top five best meals ever made to date. What probably made it taste even better, is it was a random fix. I picked up a butternut squash at the store with the intention of making a lasagna out of it (which I might still do), but after poking around the kitchen, I had everything to make risotto, so I switched gears. Don’t you love when that happens? A streak of creativity hits and suddenly those random ingredients sitting in the cabinet and fridge you didn’t know what to do with come together to make a knock your socks off meal?! I feel so savvy and efficient when that happens!
Risotto is one of my favorites, but I understand that making it from scratch seems a little intimidating. I know the first time I made it, I was terrified I was screwing it up. In all honesty, it’s fool proof. In fact, if you’re just starting out in the kitchen and you want to impress someone, make risotto! It takes a little patience and a tiny bit of time, but it’s well worth it. I say it takes time, but you can make it in around 30 minutes. It just feels longer because you have to babysit it more than other dishes. I have found two things that are imperative when making risotto. The first is the liquid you add to the pan, when you read the recipe this will make sense, has to be hot. If you add cold liquids, the rice never quite cooks right and the whole dish will be off. The second thing is having the patience to let the liquid absorb in increments. This will also make sense when you read the recipe below. When you add a cup of liquid, stir it often and let the rice soak it up almost completely before adding the next cup. This has always made the difference between good risotto and rushed risotto. Trust me, you can taste the difference. Since one of the first ingredients added to the pan is wine, I say pour yourself a glass while you cook. It’ll make the stirring go by faster.
Butternut Squash Risotto
1 cup of arborio rice
1/2 medium size butternut squash
4-5 cups of vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry white wine, whatever you would drink
1 cup onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 Tbsp of fresh chopped thyme
1 Tbsp of fresh chopped sage leaves
1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup fresh grated gruyere cheese
1 Tbsp of butter
4 Tbsp of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the butternut squash in half. Peel off the skin and chop into 1 inch cubes. If you use the bottom half of the squash, remove the seeds before cutting into cubes.
Place the butternut squash on a baking sheet, toss with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, just until tender, but not mushy. Set it aside when done cooking in the oven.
In a medium saucepan, heat up the vegetable broth almost to a boil.
While the squash is roasting, heat up a large sauté pan and the remaining olive oil to medium heat. Add in the chopped onion, a sprinkle of salt and cook until translucent. About 7 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the butter and allow it to melt, then pour in the arborio rice and chopped herbs. Allow the rice to toast for about 3-4 minutes. Pour in the wine and allow the rice to soak it up, stirring it often. Once the wine has been soaked up, add one cup of vegetable broth at a time allowing the rice to absorb it before adding in another cup of broth, stirring it often. Continue this process until all of the broth has been used and the rice is cooked al dente. It will take about 20 minutes. Stir in the grated cheeses and the butternut squash. When the cheese has completely melted and the squash has been reheated, taste test it to see if you need to add any salt or pepper and then spoon into shallow bowls to enjoy!
If you’d like to make this an entire meal, serve alongside the Fall Salad I posted a few weeks ago. This might be your favorite go to Fall meal.