Friday, November 09, 2012

Butternut Squash Risotto

This is a picture from the Eating Well website, where I got the recipe
I love cooking seasonally. Not only do you get food that's fresher and cheaper, but it also gets you in that holiday mood. It makes me feel more involved. Like I'm participating in a nationwide party. Or something....?

Anyway, the word "risotto" might make you feel like you want to skip this and go on to a different recipe because it's going to take you forever. You might think I'm culinarily gifted because I can make RISOTTO. That's what I thought whenever I heard the word risotto. But trust me, there's nothing to it. All you need is patience and a LITTLE time, and by the end of one hour you will have rich, creamy, delicious, hot risotto.

This recipe is from Eating Well, it's vegetarian but you can add A LITTLE BIT of bacon to the whole thing. Cooking bacon in the oven is SO much easier. You don't end up with a greasy pan and you don't need to sit there and babysit it. You already do that enough with the risotto. 


  • -5 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock/broth (you can make your own here), or vegetable broth if you want it vegetarian
  • -2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • -3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • -3 cups chopped peeled butternut squash (hubbard, red kuri or kabocha also work) (1/2-inch pieces)
  • -2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
  • -1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • -1/2 teaspoon salt
  • -1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • -1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads. Note: Saffron threads can be pretty pricy, so if you don't feel like spending money on them, you don't have to. It's a nice addition but it's not necessarily vital to the risotto. Although I do have to say, it'll last in your pantry for a while, so you could definitely invest in it.
  • -1 cup arborio rice
  • -1/2 cup dry white wine, or dry vermouth
  • -Optional: 2-3 strips of bacon (turkey bacon also works), cooked in oven. Let them cool then cut into small bits.
  • -1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Leave this out if you are vegan, or just use a vegan cheese)
-Place broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the broth remains steaming, but is not simmering. You'll want to have hot broth for the entire time you are cooking because if you were adding cold broth to the risotto, it would take you a lot longer.

-Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. I like to use my dutch oven when I make risottos. Add shallots, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Throw in squash and mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms give off their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, salt, pepper and saffron; cook for 30 seconds. Add rice; stir until translucent, about 1 minute. Add wine (or vermouth) and cook, stirring, until almost absorbed by the rice, about 1 minute.

-Stir in 1/2 cup of the hot broth, I use a big ladle and not a measuring cup to do this. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until all the liquid has been absorbed. The rice should be tender and creamy, 30 to 40 minutes total. (You may have some broth left.)

-At this point, if you are using bacon, throw the cooked pieces in there. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese.

Enjoy your risotto with some white or red wine. Red's healthier, but you gotta use up that wine you threw in the risotto, right?

4 servings: About 1 1/2 cups each
Nutritional Info(before bacon):372 calories, 11g fat, 3g saturated fat, 6g monounsaturated fat, 15mg cholesterol, 54g carbohydrates, 14g protein, 6g fiber, 632mg sodium, 790mg potassium

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