To Butternut Squash Risotto

While studying abroad in Italy I learned how to make risotto – and not just any old risotto but coveted risotto. My flatmates as well as the girls staying in the flat next to us loved my risotto. My fellow study abroad-er Jessica would even come over with all the ingredients and then just ask that I make it. When we traveled we lived off of Risotto, English muffins with peanut butter and fruit bought in random grocery stores. Not the most well rounded diet, but it gave us the stamina we needed to make it through our crazy back-packing adventures. The other day I was thinking about how to use butternut squash in a new recipe and decided on risotto – not to mention that I hadn’t made risotto in a really long time – it is definitely more of a fall/winter dish than a summer dish. So Friday night after finishing my spinning class with another girl in my program I went to the grocery store to pick up Arborio Rice and headed home to embark on my new kitchen adventure. Risotto may take a while to cook, but it is definitely worth the long wait. Besides using butternut squash in my risotto for the first time, I also used white wine in it for the first time – it definitely gave it that extra boost of flavor!

6 cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp. butter (divided 2 and 1)
1 small onion chopped
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and finely diced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine (I used a Riesling since that’s all I had on hand)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt (if you prefer – I think there is plenty in the broth though)

Heat broth in saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a large saucepan: add the onion and butternut. Cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent – about 5 minutes.
Add rice to onion and squash. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine – stirring constantly until the wine is absorbed by the rice.  Add enough broth to cover the rice – cook on medium heat until the broth has been absorbed – continuing to slowly add broth – remember to stir every so often – this should be 15-20 min – you want the rice soft but firm to the bite.
During the last minutes of cooking add the remaining 1 tbsp. of butter and the parmesan. Your rice should be creamy – turn off heat and cover with a kitchen towel for a few minutes – my secret!
If you need more salt – you can add more at this point.

*Another tip – make sure you always stir in the same direction – trust me!

Enjoy with a glass of the wine that you used in the risotto – perfetto!



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