January 05, 2010

Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

I love carbs. I love rice. I love cheese. I like squash. Naturally, I love risotto. I love the creamy texture, the varying flavors and all the different ways it can be prepared. One of my favorite risotto places is Piccos in Sausalito where they make fresh risotto every 20 minutes! Delish. My second favorite is the lobster risotto from Tonys. That dish is the single reason this restaurant is in my top 3 fav restaurants in Houston.

This was the first real meal I made in my new house and kitchen. Yippeee! This isn't an incredibly simple dish though - required lots of time stirring and standing over the stove and it also takes up several pots and utensils. I hate cleaning dishes so recipes with the fewer pots and pans always get an extra star. Ingredient wise, this was a good start with butternut squash. I'd like to venture out and make one with various type of mushrooms and ultimately, lobster risotto. Probably won't be as good as Tonys but you never know.

I served this with a brussel sprout and proscuitto side.

Butternut Squash Risotto
Serves 6 to 8 (Need: 2 medium sized pots and 1 small pot)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
10 sage leaves (5 whole, 3 chopped and 2 sliced)
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 onion diced into small cubes
2 shallots diced into small cubes
3 tbsp butter
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
Finely grated Parmesan cheese

1. Peel, cube and clean the butternut squash. Put in small pot with 5 whole sage leaves and 1 cup chicken stock. Put on medium heat and let it cook until squash is tender - roughly 10 minutes.
2. In a medium pot, put the rest of the chicken stock and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, put it on medium to low to keep it hot.

3. While squash is cooking, put the onion, shallots and chopped saged into a hot pan with 2 tbpn of butter. Cook until onions are almos clear. Add the rice, dash of salt and let it cook for a few more minutes. Then add in the wine and once it is almost absorbed, turn the heat down to medium. Make sure to continually stir the rice so the rice does not burn.
4. Start ladling one large scoop of hot chicken stock (or more) to just cover the rice. Stir and let the rice absorb the liquid. Continue this process one ladle at a time until the rice is cooked. If your rice is still not cooked and you are running low on stock, you can add hot water to the stock. 5. Check the squash pot. Once cooked, I also took the squash broth and added to the hot pot of broth for the rice. 6. Once rice is done, turn off heat and add 1 tbsp of butter, sliced sage leaves and parmesan cheese. Give it a good quick mix to incorporate and serve!

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