Winter Squash Risotto

Risotto is a perfect combination of creamy and gooey and chewy and warm which makes it one of my favorite comfort foods.  It also scores major points in my book for it's versatility (it can be made with any number of vegetables and turn out delicious) and how pretty it looks.  Plus it reheats well, so I can make a bunch and have leftovers.  When I was a kid, I hated leftovers but then I started being responsible for feeding myself and I totally reversed my position on leftovers.

One thing about risotto is that bad risotto is really bad.  It makes angels cry.  Well, at least Italians.  So I'm going to tell you how to make perfect risotto.  It isn't hard, but it requires you to stay involved.  Unlike a soup you don't get to set it aside and let it simmer, however it only takes about 30 minutes to cook and is totally worth it.
You need to toast the rice first.  I'm not sure exactly what this does, but it makes it taste better.  So once the onions have cooked a bit and are getting soft toss the risotto in the pan for a few minutes.
To get your risotto the perfect consistency, you need to do two things.  One, you need to heat up your broth to a simmer and add that.  No adding cold broth.  Two, you need to only add about a cup of broth at a time and let it get totally absorbed by the rice.  This is very important and, if you have patience like mine, very difficult to do.  I have to resist the temptation to add broth faster than it can be absorbed because for some reason I think that will make it cook faster.  Let me tell you know, it won't.  Oh and also (I know I said two things but this is important too) you need to keep stirring the risotto.  You don't need to go crazy, just a slow stirring to keep pieces from getting stuck to the bottom.
To give it a little extra creaminess, you can add a tablespoon or two of butter right at the end.  I didn't do this.  I also sort of forgot about the cheese until the very end, so I just sprinkled it on top.  Really though, the trick to risotto is to get the rice cooked right, the other things like the cheese and which vegetables you put in are pretty flexible.  Anyway, I can tell you this risotto with a glass of white wine and a fire place are pretty wonderful after a hard day of work and gray Seattle drizzle.

Winter Squash Risotto

1 pound Winter Squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsps sage
1 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cups white wine
kosher salt
black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup kale, chopped
1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1. Roast the squash: Spread squash on a baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes (until fork tender).
2. Heat chicken broth in a sauce pan until just simmering and reduce heat to low.
3. Heat remaining olive oil in a thick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and sage.
4. Heat until onion is translucent but not brown, about 5 minutes.
5. Add the rice and stir until coated. Toast rice for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Stir in wine, salt, pepper and turmeric. Simmer until wine is absorbed.
7. Add the broth 2 ladles at a time, stirring constantly. Allow broth to be absorbed into rice before adding more.
8. Continue until the rice is done, about 30 minutes.
9. Mix in squash, kale and Parmesan.  Stir gently until Parmesan has melted and kale has wilted.
10. Serve with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Tasty Kitchen

Print this recipe

1 comment: