It’s 82 degrees outside today.  But I will press forward with the fall recipes.

I was pretty happy with the way this recipe turned out.  Then again, I would be happy with pretty much anything that has a handful of parmesan cheese thrown into it.

Some people are intimidated by risotto.  Don’t be.  So much of it’s success depends on your own preference. As you near the end of the recipe, and you’ve used up about half the liquid, start tasting the rice.  If you like the texture, then you’re done.  Stir in the parmesan and serve it.  If the rice is still too crunchy, keep stirring, and add more liquid.  Each time the rice absorbs all the stock and you think you’re ready to add more stock, wait before you add it, and taste it again.  It’s done when you think it is.

butternut squash risotto with sage and saffron

1/2 small (1 1/2 pounds, or 700g) butternut squash
olive oil
fresh sage leaves
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small shallot, minced
1 pinch of saffron threads
1 cup (220g) arborio rice
1/2 cup (125g) dry white wine (or 1/4 cup of white grape juice, plus one teaspoon of champagne vinegar)
5-6 cups (1.25-1.5 kilos) homemade chicken stock (see chicken stock recipe, coming soon!), or 3 cups canned, plus three cups of water
1/3 cup (25g) grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees (190 degrees Celsius).  Peel the butternut squash.  Slice off ends, turn on one end and slice in half.  Wrap one half and save for a future use.  Scoop out seeds and discard.  Cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  Place on a cookie sheet and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, a pinch of salt,  a pinch of pepper, and a few sage leaves.  Roast for 30 minutes until tender.

2.  In a small pot, simmer the chicken stock (or canned broth with water).
3.  In a large skillet, melt butter in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over low heat.  Add shallots, and saute.  Add rice, and stir until the rice grains begin to turn translucent.   Crumble in saffron threads.

4.  Increase the heat to medium low.  Pour in wine, and stir until liquid is absorbed.  (Test absorption by scraping a wooden spoon along the bottom of the skillet.  If the rice and liquid do not fill in the path made by the spoon, then it is time to add more liquid.)
5.  Ladle in 1/2 cup of stock.  Stir frequently until liquid is absorbed.  Add another 1/2 cup of stock, and stir frequently until the liquid is absorbed again.  Repeat this process until rice is desired texture.  Most people prefer the rice to be a bit chewy in the center, but not crunchy.  This should take about twenty minutes.
6.  Once the rice is smooth, and the desired texture, add in the grated parmesan cheese, a teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves, and the roasted butternut squash.
7.  Spoon into bowls and garnish with sage leaves and parmesan cheese shavings

International learners regularly the analysis here from wired points of supply.