Thursday, February 28, 2013

Butternut Squash Risotto

Back when my husband was doing a lot of freelance photography work, he sometimes would take photos for a magazine called Capitol File. After he did a portrait shoot for a feature in the magazine, we started receiving the copy of the magazine in the mail for quite some time. The magazine is huge and glossy and it showcases events, restaurants, and much more from the Washington DC area.

I saw this recipe for butternut squash risotto, courtesy of chef Nicholas Stefanelli of Bibiana, in the magazine last fall. I ripped it out of the magazine, tucked it away, and made a mental note to try it out. Well, I finally got around to making it last weekend! It was really good. It was warm and a tad sweet and a tad salty, and it was a total comfort food. The original recipe used Taleggio cheese, but I used Mascarpone in its place. Mascarpone is a sweet Italian cream cheese, and it's amazing (you'll be tempted to eat it by the spoonful). I will definitely be making this delicious risotto dish again, and I hope you will try it too. Enjoy!

Recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto
3 cups of chicken broth
3 cups of vegetable broth
3 Tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil, divided
5 Tbsp. of unsalted butter, divided
Half of a yellow onion, chopped very small
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup of risotto (Arborio rice)
20 ounces of cubed butternut squash, divided
1/4 cup of white cooking wine or dry white wine
4 ounces of Mascarpone Cheese
2 ounces of finely grated parmesan cheese
Pumpkin seeds (for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place 8 ounces of the butternut squash onto a baking pan and coat with 1 Tbsp. of olive oil, a dash of salt, and some black pepper. Set aside.
Bring the broths to boil in a large pot. Put the 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and 3 Tbsp. of the butter into a large stockpot or Dutch oven and set over medium heat. When the butter starts to foam, add in the chopped onion and cook for about a minute. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the risotto, and allow the ingredients to cook together (while stirring) for about four minutes (the risotto will brown a bit). Add in the 12 ounces of butternut squash and cook for another two minutes. Place the baking pan with the 8 ounces of butternut squash onto the top rack of the oven. Cook the butternut squash for about 20 minutes, or until the risotto is finished (whichever comes first).
Continue to stir the risotto, and then add in the white wine to deglaze the pan. Stir constantly until all of the wine has cooked out. Add enough of the hot broth to cover the risotto. Stir and allow the broth to reduce by half, and continually add in more of the hot broth and stir. You probably will not end up using all of the broth. Stir the risotto continuously for about 15 minutes. Once the rice is cooked to al dente and almost all of the broth has been absorbed, add in the Mascarpone cheese, 2 Tbsp. of butter, and Parmesan cheese. Stir together until the risotto is nice and creamy. Serve immediately. Top each dish with the roasted butternut squash and pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle with some freshly ground black pepper, if desired. Enjoy!

Recipe serves 4 - 6. 

Recipe Adapted from: Capitol File Magazine, courtesy of Chef Nicholas Stefanelli of Bibiana DC