Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto

This is a wonderful autumn dish that can go with any number of meats (ham, pork, lamb, beef or poultry) or can be eaten as the entree.  This dish takes time to cook so you shouldn't plan on walking away while it is cooking as it needs periodic attention.
First, skin a Small Butternut Squash.  If you haven't worked with one, the neck is solid meal and the bulb is where the cavity.  Cut the squash in half where the two sections meet.  Place the cut side on a board and using a sharp knife, remove the skin using a top to bottom motion, turning as you go until all that is remaining is the meat.  For the neck, cut long slices about 1/4" thick.  Cut the slices into 1/4" strips and dice into 1/4' cubes.  For the bulb, cut in half and remove the seeds.  Place squash on a board so it represents a dome.  Cut 1/4" slices, cut the slices into 1/4" strips and the strips into 1/4" cubes.  Some of these pieces will be misshapen because of the curves but try to keep the general dice uniform so it cooks for the same length of time.  Dice a Small Vidalia Onion into 1/4" cubes.  Heat an empty sauce pan over medium heat.  Add 2 Tbl Olive Oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the vegetables and cook stirring often for about 6-8 minutes until the onion has sweated and the squash begins to become soft.  Do not brown the onion.  Add 1 Cup Arborio Rice.  Stir for about 1 minute.  Begin adding 32 oz of good quality Chicken Broth, 1/4 cup at a time.  (NOTE: If you are serving this to a vegetarian, use vegetable broth.)  Stir during and after each addition.  As the rice absorbs the broth, it's time to add more.  Continue adding broth until the rice is cooked but not mushy.  You may or may not use all of the broth.  Add Kosher Salt and White Pepper to taste.  Serve with Grated Parmesan Cheese.  Though I didn't add any herbs, after eating this I concluded that I would add finely minced Rosemary or Thyme.

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