I've had a Bon Appetit recipe for Risotto and Butternut Squash with Leeks that has been kicking around in my recipe box for years. I brought it out year after year and set it aside on the counter in my little basket of "short list" recipes but I never ended up making it. So I can't compare before and after results. But I can tell you that I made this modified version on Friday night and it was a big hit. The butternut squash lends a velvety, buttery taste to the risotto all by itself and the dish didn't miss the heavy cream or parmesan cheese called for in the original recipe. This dish has now properly entered my "short list" and I will be making it often in the years to come!
1 small butternut squash, about 1 pound
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine*
3 cups chicken broth*
1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut off the ends of the squash and halve lengthwise. Peel the squash and scoop out the seeds. Cut the squash into 1/4 inch cubes and toss with 2 tbsp. olive oil. Spread on a small baking sheet and roast 10 minutes. Stir, then roast another 10 minutes or until the squash is tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a small pot, heat the chicken broth until hot but do not simmer.
In a medium pot or dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft. Add the rice and stir for one minute. Add the wine and simmer until it has been absorbed, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of hot chicken broth and simmer until absorbed, about 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, until the rice is tender and creamy, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in the roasted butternut and sage. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.
*You may need to add a bit more liquid at the end. I ended up adding another 1/4 cup wine and another 1/4 cup chicken broth to get the rice al dente and very creamy.