Bon Appétit (October 2008)
We had our friends D and R over for dinner the other night. With a serious chill in the air for the first time, we wanted a menu that was full of great fall flavors.
For us, that means favorite go-to dishes like a roast pork tenderloin, Brussels sprouts with bacon, and roasted root vegetables like carrots and parsnips.
And to those we now add a new fall favorite: This absolutely amazing risotto with butternut squash and sage. Each bite is like a taste of the very essence of Autumn.
We actually don't cook risotto all that often. Honestly, it's probably based on the misconception that making risotto is labor-intensive and time-consuming. It's just the thought of, you know, adding broth, stirring until it's boiled down, adding more liquid, stirring, waiting, simmering, adding....
But the truth is, it's really not hard at all. Sure, it takes a while, but not that much more time than a pot of rice.
And as for the incremental adding of broth, well, how hard is that? Add a cup of broth, go make a cocktail. Add a cup of broth, talk with your friends. Add a cup of broth, have an appetizer. It's actually rather pleasant!
And the results....oh, the results! In this dish, the sweet, nutty, amber pillows of squash fold beautifully into the rich, creamy, salty risotto. And the sage gives the whole thing even more of a delicious homey earthiness.
You'll want to just curl up in this risotto and take a little nap. It's the very definition of comfort food. (And, not that we would know of course, but it makes a pretty fine breakfast the next morning.)
So invite some friends over this weekend for this risotto, and share a forkful of fall.
Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sage
Bon Appétit (October 2008)
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3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes peeled and seeded butternut squash (from 2 lb squash)
1.5 teaspoon golden brown sugar
Salt and pepper
3 cups low-salt chicken broth [you’ll probably need more of these broths]
3 cups beef broth
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup chopped shallots (about 5 large)
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 cups arborio rice
1/3 cup dry Riesling [just use whatever white you’ve got on hand and be done with it - probably double this too]
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add squash. Sprinkle with sugar, then salt and pepper. Sauté 6 minutes. Cover; cook until almost tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Uncover; sauté until browned but still holding shape, about 8 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before using.
Combine chicken broth and beef broth in large saucepan an bring to simmer; cover and set aside to keep warm. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add bacon; sauté until beginning to brown. Add shallots. Sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Mix in sage and thyme; stir 1 minute. Add rice; sauté until kernels are white with translucent edges, about 4 minutes. Add wine; stir until wine evaporates, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup warm broth; simmer until broth is absorbed, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 cup broth; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time and cooking until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in parsley and squash. Cook until squash is heated, about 1 minute. Transfer risotto to large shallow bowl. Serve, passing cheese separately.