On Thanksgiving Day, while sipping some “vino” with my guests, we’ll make this risotto together. It’s so easy – every time a cup of broth is added to the rice, I’ll pass the wooden spoon to one of my friends so they can do the stirring, aka “all the hard work”.
By adding bits of butternut squash to this “delizioso” risotto, you’ll find a sweet surprise in every spoonful. And with a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, this first course is to die for. Buon Appetito!
Prep time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 (as a first course) / 8 to 10 (as an appetizer course)
3 cups freshly diced butternut squash (raw)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped white or yellow onion
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 pound Arborio rice*
5 to 6 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
0.250 grams saffron powder (not saffron threads)*
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt & ground black pepper, to taste
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1. In a 2 to 3-quart saucepot, combine squash with cold water (add enough water to cover the squash).
2. Bring to a boil. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and cook 7 to 8 minutes until squash is fork-tender.
3. Drain squash and set aside in a bowl.
4. Meanwhile, in an 8 to 10-quart stockpot, heat the oil. Add onion and garlic; sauté on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until onion is translucent.
5. Stir in the rice and 1 cup of broth. Cook, on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes or until broth is absorbed. Repeat adding one cup of broth at a time and cooking 2 minutes until broth is absorbed.
6. Stir in the wine and saffron; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until wine is absorbed.
7. Stir in 1 cup broth; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until broth is absorbed.
8. Repeat broth addition and cooking instructions 5 to 6 more times or until rice is tender-firm (not overcooked).
9. Stir in the butter, salt and pepper. When butter has been absorbed, add the squash, stirring until warmed through.
Serve immediately in individual bowls. Ask guests to add grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional).
Wine pairing suggestion: Chilled Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio (whites).
*Arborio rice and Saffron powder can be found in most supermarkets or in specialty foods stores.
Text & Photograph © 2011 Nancy DeLucia Real