Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

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By Shannon O'Donnell

Ahh, fall.  My favorite season for so many reasons, with delicious autumn recipes being one of them!  Here is my own recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto.  The touch of cayenne cuts through the sweetness of the ginger and cinnamon.  This is wonderful with just a green salad and some crusty buttered bread.  So cook up a batch and savor the taste of autumn in every bite!

Shannon's Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Ingredients:

*  1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
*  3-4 cups chicken stock (as always, I use Better Than Bouillon for rich flavor)
*  5 T butter
*  1 cup diced onion
*  2-3 cloves minced garlic (or 2-3 tsp pre-minced garlic in the jar...that's how I roll!)
*  2-3 tsp minced ginger (I also buy this pre-minced in the jar)
* 1 cup Abroria rice
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp white pepper
* 1/2 tsp nutmeg
* 1/8 tsp cayenne...or more if you like it hotter!
*  1/2 cup dry white wine
*  2-3 T chopped fresh sage
*  Grated Parmesan to top

Directions:

1)  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2)  Carefully (they're a bit hard to cut!) halve squash, then cut each half into 2 or 3 big pieces.  Place in a baking dish, flesh side down, and top with about 1/4" water.  Place in oven and roast for about a half hour, or until fork tender.  Don't overcook, or your squash will just mush up in the risotto...we're going for some nice diced pieces.
3)  In the meantime, warm chicken stock in a pot on the stove.
4)  In another large stock pot, melt butter over medium-low heat.  Add in onion, garlic and ginger and stir some, cooking 5-8 minutes, or until onions are soft.  Be careful not to burn the garlic.
5)  Stir in rice and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.  Add in spices and wine, and cook a minute more.
6)  Add about a cup of the broth, and stir into the rice mixture.  Stir occasionally, but you don't have to slave over it.  When broth is absorbed in the next few minutes, add in more broth...you want the rice to absorb the broth each time, cooking and softening as you go.
7)  While rice is cooking, remove cooked squash from oven and let cook a little bit.  Cut squash into a dice...I do it right in the roasting pan, and it comes apart from the squash skin pretty easily.  You just want some rough, bite sized pieces of squash...don't worry about it being perfect, as the pieces will kind of come apart further in the risotto anyway.
8)  Keep adding the hot broth until your risotto tastes done (should be al dente), which usually takes about 20-30 minutes.  Don't forget to stir occasionally as you go, or the rice will stick to the bottom of the pan.
9)  Add in diced squash and fresh sage until warmed.
10)  Spoon risotto into serving bowls, and serve with grated Parmesan to top.

Makes 4 main dish servings, or 6-8 sides.

Shannon O'Donnell: Rainy Day Cafe

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About Shannon

Shannon

When she's not forecasting, Shannon O'Donnell enjoys putting together tasty, season-appropriate meals and goodies for her friends and family.

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