roasted butternut squash + cheddar risotto

Risotto is certainly a labor of love, but so worth the effort. And when my evening became suddenly free last night, I decided to roll up my sleeves and cook this comforting dish for dinner. 

Here are {most of} the players that were involved:

First, there was a lot of chopping..

While the squash roasted, there was more chopping {the onion this time}...
Said onion was sauteed in butter + olive oil, followed quickly by the risotto.

Butter, onions, carbs - do you really need anything else in life?
Ah yes, wine.  A quick deglazing, followed by not-so-quick additions of chicken stock and lots {and lots and lots} of stirring. 

When the risotto was finally creamy and delicious, the roasted butternut squash and lots of cheddar were tossed in. {And I used the finest cheddar that money could buy. Definitely not the Giant Eagle brand seen in the first picture.}

Anddd....the final product!

...Did you believe me? You shouldn't. 

The real final product:

OK - risotto doesn't photograph well. {But it tasted just as good as that first picture looks.} The next time you want to impress someone/spoil somebody/apologize/celebrate/eat well? Make this.

Roasted Butternut Squash + Cheddar Risotto
serves two

for roasted squash:
- half of one butternut squash, peeled and chopped into ~1 inch cubes.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt + pepper

for risotto:
- 1/4 of one large yellow onion, chopped 
- 1/2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 cup arborio rice
- 1/4 cup white wine (use something you would actually drink!)
- 3+ cups chicken stock
- 1/4 tsp ground sage
- salt + pepper
- 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 400 deg. Toss squash in olive oil and S+P until well coated. You might need more oil depending on the size of the butternut squash! 

2. Roast squash for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through. The squash will be fork-tender and caramelized when it's done.

3. Meanwhile, bring 3 cups of chicken stock to a simmer in a small pot. Make sure to have more stock on hand too, just in case. 

4. Gently heat butter + olive oil in a different pot. Add onion; saute for three minutes {or until soft and lightly browned.}

5. Add dry rice and S+P to the onion; brown/stir continuously for two minutes. Don't burn the rice!

6. Add wine to onion + rice. Stir until all of the wine liquid is gone. 

7. Important, before you start this step: make sure heat is on low to medium-low! Add ~1/2 cup of stock to the rice. Stir, stir, stir until the liquid is gone.

8.  Repeat step #7 until 3 cups of chicken stock has been added and absorbed by the rice {this step will probably take 20-30 minutes}. 

9. Test the done-ness here by carefully tasting the rice - don't burn your tongue! If rice is still not cooked all the way through {a.k.a. crunchy!}, keep repeating step #7 until rice is creamy and cooked thoroughly. 

10. While still on the heat, stir in sage and roasted squash. Remove from heat and fold in cheddar. 

11. Serve immediately while warm! {with some of that leftover wine.}


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