Saturday, November 12, 2011

Food Craft: Butternut Squash Risotto

This weekend I am posting a bunch of my favorite winter and Holiday recipes as a special series. I know I have dotted a few good Holiday recipes through here and there, but with Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching, it is time to get down to business! Every family seems to have a vegetarian, and there is no excuse to offer them nothing but side dishes as their holiday meal. This risotto makes a great main course for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

To make this risotto you will need:

1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3-4 cups vegetable stock (you can use chicken stock if you are making it for the meat eaters only)
1 cup white wine
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 cup Crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded (I get a small block and use a microplane to finely shred--don't use that gross powdered stuff, it doesn't do anyone any favors)

*you will want to roast your squash prior to starting the rest of your risotto. Simply toss it with salt, pepper and olive oil and bake on a sheet pan in the oven at 425 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.

Start heating your butter and oil together in a large pot on the stove, about medium heat. On a separate burner, in a separate pot, bring your stock to a simmer. Add your onion and garlic to the pot with the oil and butter. Cook until the onion becomes translucent. Add in your rice and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add in your mushrooms, then start adding your stock a ladle at a time. Wait until the rice has soaked up all of the stock before adding more.

Smash up your squash with a fork and add it to the risotto and allow to cook together for about 5 minutes. Once all stock has been added, add your parmesan cheese and white wine. I always use a wine we would drink, never anything labeled as "cooking wine". Once your wine is absorbed into the risotto, you can add another tablespoon of butter if you like to make it extra rich and creamy. Serve warm.

This is great as a whole meal, or on the side. Enjoy!

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