Monday, April 5, 2010

Butternut Squash Risotto

This recipe is straight from my friend in Italy. It's authentic and so delicious. Your risotto is only as good as the stock you make it with, so either use a homemade stock or a very good quality pre-made one that you trust.

Don't be intimidated. It sounds fancy, but it's pretty simple to make. You will need to stand and constantly stir for 22 minutes once you start adding the stock, so make sure you have enough time. It's a great bicep workout, too!

Arborio rice (1/2 cup dry rice per person or you can eyeball it as 2 fistfulls of dry rice per person)

1 Butternut squash (1 is prob good for up to 4-6 people if more you may want to add more squash)

2 cloves garlic

peperoncino (red pepper flakes) to taste but not too much (can be omitted)

olive oil

Beef, Chicken or Veggie Stock (about 2 cups per person)

½ cup white wine

fresh parsley (MUST be fresh)

pat of butter (can be omitted)

Set the stock on low flame. It needs to be warm, but not boiling.

Peel, clean and cube the butternut squash...take a large skillet pan or pot and brown the whole garlic cloves with peperoncino in a few tablespoons of olive oil (doesnt need to be chopped)... remove and discard garlic once browned and add squash to pan.. toss for a minute and then add a bit of the broth to help it cook down (not too much broth bc you dont want it soupy)... cook squash until its soft to a fork, but not to the point of where it becomes puree.

Remove squash from the pan and set aside .

Using the same pan you cooked the squash in , heat a bit of olive oil into the pan (just enough oil to coat the rice, but no more).. add raw rice and stir it around for a few mintutes.. when the rice starts getting a bit translucent around the edges, add the wine and stir until its completely absorbed.

Begin adding broth a ladel or 2 at a time (basically to cover rice)... be sure to stir and make sure that there are no raw pieces sticking to the sides of the pan... keep this going... adding when the rice completely absorbes the broth... You will be strirring continuously for 22 minutes EXACTLY from the time you start adding the stock to the rice. Set the timer.
It's getting hot in here! Stir, stir, stir!

When the rice is halfway cooked (at the 11 minute mark), add the cooked squash back into the pan and continue stirring & adding stock every time the rice soaks it up.

When the rice is done, add a nice handful of finely chopped fresh parsley and a pat of butter........ Voila!  You can add a handful of grated Parmagianno Regianno or Grana Padano at the end if you like, as well.

This is really an out-of-sight recipe! Don't be scared! It sounds a bit intimidating, but it's really quite simple and so creamy and fantastic.

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