6cupschicken or vegetable broth, plus more as needed
⅔cupgrated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnishpreferably hand-grated
Herbs for garnishsage, thyme, or rosemary
Prepare the butternut squash
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Arrange the cubed butternut squash on a large sheet pan, and toss with a few drizzles of olive oil, a few sprinkles of salt and pepper. Roast the butternut squash for 30-35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a food processor. Process it until you get a smooth puree. You should have about 1 ¼ cup of pureed butternut squash. Optional: Set aside a few cubes of the roasted butternut squash for garnish later.
Make the risotto
In a 4 or 6 quart pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the shallot for 2 minutes, and then add the garlic and saute for 1 minute until fragrant.
Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and the arborio rice (do not wash the rice). Stir until fragrant and a bit nutty, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until most of the wine has evaporated, about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
To the rice, add 1 cup of broth, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, without over-stirring. After the liquid has absorbed into the rice, add another cup of broth and repeat the stirring process. Do this with the remaining broth, one cup at a time, until al dente or tender. During the last 2 instances, it will look much creamier. This process should take about 25 minutes. Tip: after each addition of broth, increase the heat a little bit to get it going and then decrease to a constant simmer.
Add the butternut squash puree, grated parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir for another 1-2 minutes over low heat, until fully incorporated.
Serve with more parmesan and herbs as garnish, along with the roasted butternut squash cubes you set aside (you may need to dice them smaller). Enjoy!
Special equipment: sheet pan, food processor, 4 or 6 quart pot, wooden spoon.
Butternut squash: I'd highly recommend roasting and then pureeing your own quash. Canned purees often come with preservatives that could alter flavors.
Making risotto is all about stirring often, but don't overdo it! Stirring too vigorously or too much can result in gluey and dense risotto.
Rice: Use the right type of rice. Arborio is my choice here. Don't use the regular long-grain or short-grain rice since those don't contain enough starch to reach the risotto consistency.
Use a wooden spoon to stir. This will prevent scratches.
Disclaimer: Nutritional values (per serving) are approximates only.