1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium onion
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups Arborio rice
1 bunch sage leaves, chopped
1 cup white wine (optional)
1 cup cream (optional)
4 cups chicken stock
Parmesan, pecorino or asiago cheese to finish your risotto
Prep the squash:
Preheat oven to 400°. (We use a toaster oven if possible.)
Toss the squash with a swirl or two of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Throw in the garlic and roast. (Another option is to cook the squash on the stovetop until soft – but roasting really boosts the sweet flavor of the squash!) Either way, cook the squash until it is perfectly soft and set aside.
Cook the risotto:
Practice your knife skills and finely dice the onions. Or be lazy and use a food processor!
Over medium-high heat, sweat the onions in a wide, heavy-bottomed pan with a bit of butter. Add about 2 cups of rice (measure by sight, accuracy is not important) and stir. It will quickly absorb any moisture in the pan, and them give off a pleasant aroma as you “toast” it in the pan, stirring it for a minute or so. Add about a cup of chicken stock and let rice absorb the liquid. Generously cover the rice with chicken stock. Turn down the heat to low, and let the rice absorb nearly all the liquid, stirring only occasionally to make sure there is no rice sticking to the bottom of the pan. (Be careful not to over-stir, since it will cause the rice to give off starch, resulting in a gloppy risotto.)
When the rice is nearly perfect (a bit too al dente) introduce the cooked squash. Add salt, pepper, sage leaves and taste. If you like a creamier risotto (I do!), add about about a cup of cream and let absorb. If you like a tarter risotto, you may choose to add wine instead. Let the rice absorb nearly all the remaining liquid, taste, and re-season if necessary. Stir in the cheese to melt, and serve!