Friday, October 26, 2012

Butternut Squash Risotto ( Risotto alla Zucca)

Risotto takes patience.  Be sure and take your time.
One medium/large Butternut squash (about 1-2 pounds)
Ingredients:  2 cups Arborio Rice
4 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for drizzle)
2 tablespoons red or white onion (you may use yellow,  however it has a bitter, high water content and I dont' like to use it here).
One cup of white wine
2 teaspoons salt (plus more to your liking)
2 teaspoons pepper (plus additional to your liking)
A pinch of Nutmeg
Baking sheet
one heavy duty knife (for preparing the Butternut Squash)
6 cups or so of good Homemade broth (vegetable or medley of meats), heated to a boil.  (You may keep your broth at a slow, steady simmer)
Parmigiano Reggiano for grating (about 6 teaspoons)
Preheat your oven to 400F degrees
Slice open your squash and clean out the seeds in a rounded motion( your Butternut squash will look like large spoon rests)
Sprinkle and brush a little olive oil across your Butternut Squash halves.
Salt and pepper your Butternut Squash halves (one teaspoon each)
Place in the oven for up to one hour.  Test to see if they are soft.  Remove them from the oven when they are soft and caramelized.  Set aside to cool.
Remove the interiors by spooning them out into a bowl.  Set them aside for later.  Discard the skins
In the meantime, place your onion in a large enough pot to accommodate your Risotto.  Add your olive oil.  Cook until your onion is fragrant and add your rice.  At this point, give it a good mix and add your white wine.   Keep mixing, until your wine has just about evaporated from the pan and your rice  is somewhat dry.
Begin to add your broth a cup at a time.  Keep mixing in a circular motion, in a continuous direction.   Keep adding liquid (up to about 25 minutes worth at a slow study pace), and taste  a little on the edge of a spoon.  Keep in mind that the Risotto will continue to cook some while resting.  Timing is everything here.  Taste it again.   Great things, can't be rushed.   This is one of them.   Remove your risotto from the heat and add your bowl of softened Butternut Squash.
A pinch of Nutmeg is added and mix again.  Keep mixing in the same direction in a continuous motion.
Add several tablespoons of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, more salt if you like and serve.
Buon Appetito
Special Note:  
Always add hot broth to your Risotto.   The heated broth helps the starches from the rice release,  therefore cooking your rice. This helps to create that creamy texture you want to taste in a Risotto.
(Thank you Foodie Stuntman for reminding me to make this point. I always assume my friends can read my mind).
  Drizzle a little extra virgin olive right before you serve along with some extra Parmigiano Cheese.  Enjoy!

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