Sheila's swinging single Friday night Risotto

I am not sure why, but lately I have been craving Butternut Squash. It’s not normally a vegetable I think much about normally. I figure it must have some vitamin in it I need right now and my body is trying to tell me that.

I made an excellent Butternut Squash  Soup with Smoked Paprika and toasted Pepitas a few weeks ago. I had never used Smoked Paprika before and it really added an interesting flavor to the soup. While I was in Dallas, I found a recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto on the internet. It sounded easy, so I bought the squash but never managed to make the Risotto.

When I got back to Florida, I kept thinking about it, so I decided it was time to try it. Upon reviewing the recipe, I realized it was a microwave recipe. I didn’t think that would cut it as a “true” risotto so I came up with my own version on the stovetop.

Risotto is not really hard to make, it just takes some time and attention. It is made by sautéing the rice in a fat (oil or butter) then adding small amounts of a good broth and stirring until it is absorbed, then adding the broth again. The rice absorbs the broth and expands and the stirring softens the outer portion of the rice which gives the risotto that creamy consistency. Other flavor ingredients are added when the rice is al dente.I love the toothsome texture.

I must say I was pleased with the finished product. It made a nice meal for me. I cooked up some beets and had some of those with the risotto. If you want to add a protein you could serve it with just about anything, chicken, fish, shellfish or maybe even pork. I like it just as it is though and found it sufficiently filling.

The brand I use of the chicken “like” broth is Frontera. The mushroom bouillion brand is “Better than Bouillon”. I suspect a good packaged vegetable broth would work too, but I didn’t have any on hand.

Sheila’s (swinging single) Friday Night Butternut Squash Risotto

I small Butternut Squash
1 cup Arborio rice
1 Tsp olive oil
1 ½ Tbl butter
1 cup Chicken broth if you are a carnivore,
1 cup Chicken “like” broth and 1/2 cup mushroom broth for non-meat eaters. (I like the addition of the mushroom broth. It adds some depth to the flavor to the risotto
½ cup water
¼-1/2 cup White Wine (I used Chardonnay)
Pinch of nutmeg
3 Tbl finely grated good Parmesan

Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Put in an 8 or 9 in baking dish, cut side down. Add about ½ inch of water. Cover with wax paper. Put in the microwave and cook until tender about 10-12 minutes, until done. Scoop out the cooked squash to measure about ¾ cup and mash. Add S&P and a dash of nutmeg

In the meantime, mix the two broths, and wine if you are making the veggie version. For the carnivores, mix the chicken broth and wine. Heat olive oil and ½ Tbl of butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add Arborio rice and cook until fragrant and lightly toasted. Add ¼ cup of liquid mixture, stir and continue stirring until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding broth about ¼ cup at a time, stirring until liquid is absorbed than adding more until the rice is creamy and just tender. Use additional wine or water if you need to cook it longer. Add the rest of the butter, mashed squash, any additional s&p to taste and 2 ½ tablespoons of parmesan.

Serve with additional parmesan and have a glass of the Chardonnay with it.