It's a cold winter night in Nebraska. We received another 3 1/2 inches of snow overnight, making our grand total around 20 inches. Cold winter nights just beg for comfort food. Risotto is a delicious comfort food. Many people are intimidated by risotto. I took a risotto class years ago and have always had good results.
I think the most challenging thing about this risotto was chopping up the butternut squash. When is that knife skills class anyway? I thought I would never finish chopping this squash. AFTER, I finished chopping up the squash, I searched for helpful hints. There's a great post over at Simply Recipes. If only, I had read it BEFORE I chopped the squash.
I found this recipe at Bay Area Bites. The only change I made was to use shallots instead of onion. This risotto has a beautiful creamy texture and a wonderful slight cinnamon flavor. It went well with our Bourbon Apple Pork Loin.
Butternut Squash Risotto
1/2 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
16 oz chicken broth
1 shallot, diced
1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
1 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
Olive oil for roasting and finishing
Roast the Butternut Squash
Preheat oven to 450°F with the rack in the middle.
Microwave the entire squash for 3-4 minutes so that it's easier to cut through. Halve squash lengthwise and discard seeds.
Peel and cut into 1-inch dice. Place in a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.. Bake the squash, stirring the diced pieces occasionally, until tender and browned lightly, 20-25 minutes. Set aside.
In a saucepan bring broth to a simmer and keep at a bare simmer.
In a large pot melt the butter and add onion, carrot, garlic, and ginger. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Stir in rice and let it toast a bit, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
Add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed. Stir in the broth ¼ cup at a time, stirring constantly, until absorbed. Keep the risotto at a simmer throughout. Continue simmering, stirring, and adding broth, letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until about half of broth has been added. Stir in diced squash, honey, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and continue simmering and adding broth in same manner until rice is tender and creamy-looking but still slightly al dente, about 20-25 minutes. Stir in the grated Parmigiano and combine.
Spoon risotto into serving bowls and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a few curls of Parmigiano using a vegetable peeler.