Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Some cooks tend to shy away from risotto, thinking its preparation a burdensome and lengthy process. The truth is the dish is easily completed in 20 minutes, making risotto an everyday fast food favorite.

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced into ¼-inch squares (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 quart home made chicken broth, or low sodium chicken broth

1 extra large shallot, peeled and diced, about 1 cup
½ cup white wine
2 cups Arborio rice
2 tablespoons organic butter, 1/4 stick
2 tablespoons organic half and half
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1 cup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Place the diced squash onto a baking dish with lip. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon, chili powder and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Bake until just soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.

Warm the chicken broth in a pot over low heat. In a separate large pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add the shallot and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until the liquid disappears. Stir in the rice and cook to toast, about 5 minutes. Stir in a ladle full of chicken broth. When the liquid is absorbed, add another ladle full of broth. Continue until all of the broth has been absorbed. This should take about 20 minutes. The risotto will be wet, not sticky, chewy on the outside and tender on the inside. Stir in the butternut squash, butter, half and half and Parmesan cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Servings: 6 to 8
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Sources and Substitutions
Arborio rice is the ingredient of choice when making risotto. The kernels are not only extra starchy, but shorter and fatter than other short-grained rice, which is the reason the dish is so creamy.

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