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Butternut Squash Risotto

A northern Italian specialty dating as far back as the Renaissance, risotto is traditionally served as a primo piatto (first course), after the antipasto. It is made from a high-starch rice such as Arborio or Carnaroli. The small grains become exceptionally creamy as the dish slowly simmers. Here, butternut squash puree and caramelized onions lend a mellow sweetness to the risotto.

Ingredients:

  • 7 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh sage
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 cups butternut squash puree
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2/3 cup caramelized onions
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 Tbs. of the butter. Add 1 Tbs. of the sage and heat until the butter browns. Strain the butter into a small bowl and discard the sage. Cover the bowl to keep the butter warm.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the stock and squash puree. Bring just to a simmer, 8 to 10 minutes; maintain over low heat.

In a large saucepan or risotto pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the caramelized onions and rice and stir until the grains are well coated with the oil and are nearly translucent with a white dot in the center, about 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 Tbs. sage and the rosemary. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed.

Add the simmering stock mixture a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding more.

When the rice is tender to the bite but slightly firm in the center and looks creamy, after about 30 minutes, stir in the remaining 3 Tbs. butter, the cheese, salt and pepper. Add more stock if needed so the rice is thick and creamy. Let stand for 2 minutes. Drizzle with the reserved sage butter and serve immediately. Serves 6.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.