Butternut squash is special to me because it happens to be the first food I gave my 6 month old son. With him starting solid foods now, cooking has been a little more exciting. After roasting some butternut squash, I had plenty leftover after using some for baby food. The dish that came to mind using up the remaining squash was risotto. Thanks to the wonderful Ina Garten, I tried her recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto which was delicious, especially with the use of saffron…
This risotto has a beautiful color for the fall partly due to the saffron and natural color from the butternut squash. It’s creamy, aromatic with the fresh chopped sage, and a good way to use butternut squash. If you wanted, you could also substitute the butternut squash with other kinds of squash such as acorn, calabaza, delicata, kabocha, or hubbard squash. Do keep in mind that you’ll want to adjust the flavor by adding some sweeteners since these types of squash are not as sweet as butternut squash. Brown sugar and honey are great ways to add extra sweetness.
recipe adapted from Ina Garten
1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces thick cut bacon, diced
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the squash halves on a sheet pan and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper then roast for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven until very tender. Allow to cool and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl.
Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.
In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the bacon and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and squash, stirring together to coat the grains with butter and squash. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes.
Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total.
Off the heat add Parmesan cheese. Mix well and stir in chopped sage or sprinkle on top of risotto as garnish.