I’m still eating local butternut squash from the fall (not frozen–just kept in a cold basement). It seems to get sweeter as it sits and the flavor concentrates. I know it will not keep indefinitely, so one of these days, I’ll peel, cut and freeze the remaining heads. But right now, it’s still in fine condition.
The main labor in this dish is peeling and seeding the squash. My method is to first slice off the stem and a 1/4″ of the bottom. Then, with a large sharp knife, cut the squash in half crosswise where the bulbous portion meets the tall straight portion. Stand each piece upright and, while holding secure with one hand, slice down the sides and angle the knife around the curves of the squash–it takes brute force to guide the knife around the curved shape, but its possible to do. Then split the bulbous portion in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon and discard (they are edible but more on that in a later post). Cut the flesh into 3/4″ chunks and saute, roast, or freeze for later use. Once the squash is cut into manageable cubes, you can begin making the risotto.
This would be great with pear and pomegranate salad (see “butternut farro” post).
Butternut Squash Risotto
Serves 4 – 6
3 cups of butternut squash, cut into 1/2″ cubes
6 tbls butter
3 shallots or one medium onion
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups arborio rice
10 cups chicken or vegetable broth, simmering
1/2 cup grated parmiggiano plus additional for sprinkling at the table
On medium heat, in 4 tbls butter, saute butternut squash cubes until they begin to color (about 10 minutes). Add shallots and nutmeg, and saute until golden (about 7 – 8 minutes). Add rice and saute for about 3 minutes. Add wine and saute for 2 minutes or until it evaporates.
Set your timer to 15 minutes.
Begin adding hot broth 1/2 cup at a time until it’s almost evaporated, then adding more until only a 1/2 cup or so of broth remains. If you run out of broth, don’t panic–just begin adding water.
At fifteen minutes, shut the flame, cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Add remaining butter and 1/2 cup grated parmiggiano.
Serve with additional grated cheese at the table.