Few acts in the kitchen can make an amateur cook feel quite as accomplished as the successful preparation of homemade risotto. For a single dish, you get to chop, grate, season and sauté before spending 30-plus minutes standing over the stove while tending to your impending masterpiece. Yes, it’s more labor intensive than spaghetti or tacos, but the end result is so much more satisfying. And here’s the great risotto secret that I wish I had learned a long time ago: It’s so much easier than it looks.
My first stab at risotto came a few winters ago, with a sweet potato risotto recipe from Real Simple. It’s still a much-loved meal at our place for sure, but earlier this week, I was in search of more uses for butternut squash (so much squash, I know, but I’ve become quite smitten with those sweet squashy guys), and I came across this recipe from the trusty Real Simple archives. It’s butternut squash risotto, two great loves in one. You can’t get much better than that.
Butternut Squash Risotto
From Real Simple (December 2006)
• 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
• 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and grated (about 4 cups)
• 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
• 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
• 1 cup dry white wine
• ½ cup grated Parmesan (about 2 ounces, though I upped it to about ¾ cup Parmesan, or 3 ounces)
Warm chicken broth in a small saucepan over low heat. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, salt and pepper, and cook for 4 minutes. Add the sage, and cook for 1 minute. Add the squash and garlic, and cook until squash begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the rice, and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.
Add the wine, and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring occasionally and waiting until liquid is absorbed before adding more. It should take about 30 minutes for all the broth to be absorbed.
Remove from heat, and stir in the Parmesan.
If you’re in search of a delicious comfort food to warm you on a chilly night, this is your ticket to cozy town. The preparation takes time, but you’ll be so happy you put in the effort.
Do you have any favorite higher-maintenance recipes? Or is easy peasy more your style? And in risotto news, what are your favorite additions?