A good risotto takes some patience, but this recipe is worth the time. To make it a little easier, buy squash that’s already been chopped and peeled.
Recipe and photograph by Kimme Hargrove
1 large butternut squash (or equivalent amount chopped and peeled squash, available fresh or frozen in most grocery stores)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 Tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
½ cup Romano or Parmesan cheese, shredded and divided
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 450°F.
To prepare squash, cut in half lengthwise, then microwave each half for 3 minutes. Drizzle olive oil into a large baking dish. After the squash halves have cooled, spoon out the seeds and discard. Place one half of the squash, cut side down, in the middle of the baking dish. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the other half of the squash, then cut into half-inch to one-inch pieces. Sprinkle these pieces around the face down squash in the baking dish. Bake squash for 45 minutes, stirring chopped pieces halfway through cooking. Remove from oven and using a towel to hold the squash, scoop out the inside flesh use a spoon, then roughly chop it up. Mix all squash together. (If using pre-chopped and peeled squash simply cook according to package directions and proceed).
Heat broth on low until warm.
Heat butter on medium in a large skillet until melted. Add garlic and shallots, and sauté for 1 minute while stirring. Add rice, and stir about 2 minutes until coated and slightly toasted. Add wine and sage, stirring to combine.
Using a ladle, add warmed broth one ladle at a time, stirring rice to prevent burning or sticking. Keep adding one ladle at a time until most liquid is absorbed. This process will take about 30 minutes. Test risotto to make sure the texture is smooth and rice is fully cooked. (note: you may not need to use all of the broth, or you may need to add water if more liquid is required.)
Once rice is cooked through, add ½ cup cheese and ¾ of the cooked squash. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Top with the remaining squash and a handful of arugula. Add extra shredded (or shaved) cheese on top, if desired.
Serves 4 as a side dish.
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