Butternut Squash Risotto

Ingredients:

  • Butternut Squash (1; peeled and cut into cubes)
  • Thyme (3-4 springs plus more for garnish)
  • Garlic (4-5 cloves; peeled)
  • Arboria Rice (2 cups)
  • Chicken Stock/Vegetable Stock (6 cups)
  • Onion (1; finely chopped)
  • White Wine (1/2 cup)
  • Saffron (a pinch)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese (1/2 cup)
  • Shaved Parmesan Cheese (for garnish)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Olive Oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400oF/200oC.

Place the diced butternut squash and garlic on a baking tray and drizzle olive oil over it. Season with salt and pepper. Pluck the thyme leaves from the stem and drizzle them over the butternut squash.

Place the baking tray in the oven for 25 minutes.

Let the squash cool down a little and then add it to a blender (reserving some butternut squash for later) along with all the garlic and blend it to a fine puree.

In a medium-sized saucepan, add the chicken stock and bring it to a simmer, you don’t need it to be boiling but you want the stock to be warm while you’re adding it to the risotto.

In a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil and once hot, add the chopped onions and let them cook until they are translucent.

Add the rice and stir it for a minute.

Add the white wine and stir it till the white wine evaporates completely.

Add the saffron and give it another stir. Add two ladles of warm chicken stock along with the pureed butternut squash.

Stir constantly until the liquid evaporates and then add more stock. Keep adding 1 ladle of stock at a time and stirring until the rice is cooked al dente. You will have to try it in the process and eat a few raw rice grains.

Finish with the parmesan cheese and butter. Taste salt and pepper if needed.

Assess if you need to add some final ladle of stock. The texture should be such that if you run a spoon or spatula down the center of the pot the risotto should easily cover the space back up.

Serve immediately and garnish with fresh thyme leaves and shaved Parmesan cheese.

This step is completely optional: I grilled the remaining butternut squash and some oyster mushrooms on high heat for a minute on each side and served them with the risotto.

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