Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Fall Favorite:Butternut Squash Risotto

You can see a squash hanging near the top of the plant..
My butternut squash plants took over their bed in the garden this summer.

They climbed the bean trellis and shaded out my onions. I kept cutting the vines back, but they'd just grow back and sprawl all over the garden.

Next year I am going to look for a bush variety if I plant butternut squash. And I probably will, just for the pleasure of making this dish.

Originally from a recipe in Cooking Light magazine, this isn't a true risotto in that it is not simmered on the stove except for a initial 5 minutes. After that, it bakes in the oven. But it still has the lovely creamy texture of the rice, and the squash fairly melts into it.

This keeps beautifully and is even better after it has sat for a day or two in the fridge. I love it hot or cold, sometimes as a meal, sometimes as a side dish. It's especially good with poultry. I may very well plan on making it at my parents' house this Thanksgiving.

Because heaven knows I've got plenty of nice butternut squash to take up there.........

Butternut Squash Risotto 
You can buy cut butternut squash chunks in many supermarket produce sections.
They'll work fine--cube them and roast them on an oiled baking sheet for about 15 minutes at 375 before adding them to the rice and broth

1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 cup diced onion (the frozen stuff is fine)
1 cup arborio rice  (or other short grain white rice)
1/4 cup white wine
3 cups chicken broth  or 2 cups of broth & 1 cup water
1/4 t fresh or  1 t dried thyme
grated Parmesan or Peccorino Romano cheese

Bake the squash (unpeeled) directly on the rack of an oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. This is just out of the oven.
Let the squash cool enough to peel it.

Remove all seeds and cut it into cubes--about 1/2 inch each

Heat a small amount of oil in a large pan--I use my 4 qt Dutch oven.
Add the onions and saute for several minutes, then add the rice and saute one minute more.
Add the squash, stock, wine and thyme and let it come to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes.

Place everything in a 9x13 baking dish.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes then stir it and check to see that the rice is softening.
You can add a small amount more broth if necessary.
Cook for 5 more minutes.
Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 5 more minutes until the cheese melts.....

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