After a few months of warm-weather favorites, we start craving some of the dishes we’ll be making when the days shorten and cool. Of course, one can make risotto any time of year, but I especially like making it when there’s a bit of a chill in the air.
Butternut squash can be found at farmers markets toward the end of summer and is available through winter. If a gardening friend has a bumper crop, bake squash, puree in Cuisinart food processor and freeze in measured batches to have on hand for recipes. If just making enough puree for one recipe, make it a day or two ahead and refrigerate, to get a jump on dinner. Then about 40 minutes before you want to serve the risotto, pull up a high stool to the stove and settle in for some serious stirring.
Butternut Squash Risotto
Makes 6 to 8 servings
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
2 cups organic Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups lower-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, heated
1 1/2 cups butternut squash puree (1 2-pound squash, baked)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon white or black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 cubes
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- In 10-inch straight-sided skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions and shallots until golden, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until evaporated. Add 1 cup of the hot broth along with the squash and seasonings and cook, stirring, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Continue to add hot broth in small batches, just enough to completely moisten the rice, and cook, stirring, until each addition has been absorbed. Stir constantly and simmer very gently until the rice mixture is creamy but al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes from the time the wine was added.
- Remove from heat and beat in the butter, one piece at a time, until completely melted. Beat in the cheese. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Ladle into warm shallow bowls and garnish with finely chopped flat-leaf parsley.