We made this risotto over the weekend because we love both risotto and butternut squash.
An Italian classic, this fall take on risotto is brimming with flavor, adding pine nuts and balsamic glaze.
It’s easy enough to make on a weeknight.
If you can’t find Asiago cheese, you can substitute other Italian grating cheeses: Grana Padano, Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano (here’s more about Italian grating cheeses).
Ingredients For 6 Servings
1. PREHEAT the oven to 350˚F. Peel the squash, remove the seeds and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
2. ARRANGE the squash on a baking sheet. Season with garlic, sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss to coat squash.
3. ROAST for about 30 minutes, until the squash becomes tender and golden. Remove from the heat and discard sage leaves and garlic. Purée half of the squash and set the other half aside. In the meantime…
4. COOK the rice. Bring the chicken stock to a slow simmer on low-heat in small, covered pot. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil on a medium setting. Add the shallots and cook until they become translucent and softened, but not browned—about 8 minutes. Stir the in rice and mix until coated and the grains become clear, about 4 minutes.
5. ADD the wine and continue to cook and stir until the wine has completely absorbed. Using a ladle, add 3/4 cup of hot broth to the rice. Use a wooden spoon to stir the rice constantly. When the rice has absorbed most (but not all) of the liquid and the mixture is just thick enough to leave a clear wake behind the spoon, add another 3/4 cup broth and the squash purée.
Continue to add broth when mixture gets thick, stirring constantly, until all the broth has been used, the grains are al dente in the center and suspended in a liquid that resembles heavy cream— about 18 minutes.
6. TURN off the heat and stir in the butter, squash pieces, pine nuts, and 1/2 cup of Asiago. Once the butter has melted and the ingredients are fully incorporated, remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, topped with the remaining 1/2 cup of Asiago and drizzled with balsamic glaze.
Arborio rice is essential for risotto. Arborio rice develops a creamy texture around a chewy center and has exceptional ability to absorb flavors.
The creaminess comes from a high starch content. Arborio is a japonica cultivar, the same variety that produces the other “sticky rices,” including mochi and sweet rice.
Primarily used in risotto, this medium-length, round-grained rice is named after the town of Arborio, in Italy’s Po Valley, where it is grown.
The grains have a more tan color with a characteristic white dot at the center of the grain.
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