Monday, December 6, 2010

Butternut Squash Risotto

A few weeks ago, Mr. Max and I had a nice little date night at the Stoneleigh Hotel's restaurant, Bolla. They had a four-course meal special and the second course served an incredible butternut squash risotto. We attempted our first homemade risotto alfredo last month and decided to recreate Bolla's version with our quasi-working knowledge of risotto making. The first thing we are doing different is using Arborio rice rather than short grain regular rice - due to the starches, Arborio rice becomes creamy as it cooks, enhancing the consistency of the risotto.

After researching several recipes, I've adapted fellow blog, CheapGoodHealthy's, recipe and I have to say, this was amazing. Risotto does take a little more time in the kitchen to make, but it was well worth it. The nutritional facts for this dish include 371 calories, 10 g fat and 1.4 g fiber.

Grocery List:
  • about 1 lb. of butternut squash, cut up into small cubes
  • 1 dozen sage leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-5 cups of low fat chicken (or veggie) stock
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Arborio rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, shredded
Start by cutting up your squash into small cubes.

In a heavy pot or dutch oven, add squash, 1 cup of chicken stock, salt and 3 sage leaves on medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the squash reserving the cooking stock for later.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in the pot and add about 2 tbsp. of chopped sage, followed by the onions, cooking until translucent. This was another heavenly aroma! Turn the heat on low, add a pinch of salt and the Arborio rice. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Turn the heat back up and add the white wine. Cook until the wine has been absorbed.

While the rice absorbs the wine, in a separate pot, heat the remaining 4 cups of chicken stock. Once bubbling, scoop about 1/4 cups worth and add to the rice. Stir well to help absorb, once absorbed, add another 1/4 cup. Repeat until all stock is absorbed. At this point, I'm glad I had held on to the stock I boiled the squash in because the rice still wasn't completely cooked, so I added about 1/3 cup to the rice.

Finally, add the last of the butter, the Parmesan and the squash, stirring carefully, mixing all together. I added a few shakes of cinnamon to this dish to give it a little more flavor and then it was perfect.

I garnished with grated Parmesan, sage leaves and sprinkled cinnamon served with a tasty spiced pork agrodolce. This was an incredible Roman-Italian meal, godere amici!

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