Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

I'm not sure where summer went but there is no doubt that fall is in the air already, or at least all over my backyard which is full of falling leaves. I love summer but I actually like fall just as well. First of all, it is beautiful. Secondly, there is tons to do with the kids - apple orchards, pumpkin patches, cool-weather frolics in the much that my family enjoys!

Another thing I enjoy in the fall is squash. My favorite is butternut squash for its sweet and nutty flavor, silky texture, and how versatile it is in the kitchen for both savory and sweet dishes. During the colder days my husband really enjoys butternut squash soup, but it is not that cold yet so a warm and creamy risotto sounded like a good way to enjoy this seasonal favorite and a great excuse for eating rice (like I really need one).

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2001 via Epicurious

I used a vegetable peeler to peel the butternut squash, then I sliced it in half lengthwise, scooped out the seed and diced it into small cubes.

4 ½ cups butternut squash peeled and diced
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
About 6 cups nonfat chicken broth hot
1 medium onion, chopped
2 to 3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
4 to 6 garlic cloves crushed
About 1 cup of frozen peas thawed
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

Season peeled and cubed squash with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper, toss around and spread over a baking sheet in one layer. Bake in preheat oven to 425oF until tender, stirring every 10 minutes for a total of 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside.

Cook onion in olive oil over moderate heat, stirring, until it starts to soften - about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until they turn soft - about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir for about 1 minute before adding the rice. Cook, stirring for a couple of minutes.

Stir in 1/2 cup simmering broth and cook at a strong simmer, stirring frequently, until broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next (There might be some leftover broth.).

When rice is almost done, and you feel that just ½ cup of broth will be enough to finalize the dish. Stir in basil, peas and cheese with the last ½ cup of broth and simmer for about1 minute. Rice is done when soft but still slightly firm (al dente).

Remove from heat and gently fold in the roasted butternut squash. Serve immediately.

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