Butternut squash risotto just so happens to be one of the first dishes that I ever made myself. I'm not exactly sure why I chose a dish that I wasn't very familiar with at the time. In fact, that was the first time I had ever tasted risotto. Luckily, I did good. So I decided that after a 2 year butternut squash risotto hiatus, it was time to revisit the recipe.
It also couldn't hurt that I had some extra butternut squash puree hanging out in the freezer for a while and I had some arborio rice in the cupboard that I wanted to use up. (Note: I have made other risottos recently. I haven't had this arborio rice in my cupboard for 2 years!)
I mean, what's not to like about a mixture of butternut squash, leeks, and arborio rice?
- 2 cups roasted butternut squash puree
- 6-8 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 3 medium leeks
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup Castellano cheese, grated (can substitute Parmesan or Manchego cheese)
- splash lemon juice
- salt & pepper, to taste
1) In a medium pot, heat the chicken stock to a simmer.
2) Dice the leeks and soak them in cold water to remove as much dirt as possible.
3) In a large saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil together. Add the leeks and saute for a few minutes, until tender and translucent.
4) Add the rice and stir to incorporate. Once the rice has cooked for a few minutes, add a splash of lemon juice and stir until absorbed.
5) Add 1 - 2 cups of simmering stock. Once the first addition of stock is absorbed, add another 1 - 2 cups of stock until that is absorbed. Continue adding stock until the rice is creamy and tender, but slightly firm. (I ended up using about 6 cups of stock, but probably could have used up to 7 cups. You may prefer to use more or less.)
6) Turn off the stove. Stir in the butternut squash puree, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
The risotto turned out creamy and cheesy, which happens to be just the way that I like it. When I first made this risotto, I used chunks of butternut squash. This time, I decided to use butternut squash puree since that's what I had on hand. I definitely prefer the risotto with the pureed squash, since it blends well with the consistency of the risotto. I was also able to taste the squash in each and every bite, which is something that doesn't always happen if you use squash chunks in the risotto. I really liked the leeks in this dish as well, since they're heartier than a regular onion and stand up well to the other aspects of this dish.
(If you don't have leeks available, you can still use regular onions. I won't tell!)