Oh man. Yesterday was Valentines Day.
I stopped caring about this holiday when middle school ended and the obligatory candy stopped arriving at my desk.
My mom still sends me candy. That counts for something right?
Anyways. This risotto is a Valentines gift to my friend Rachel. She’s pretty snobby about being a vegetarian, but it takes a food snob to appreciate a food snob. It’s one reason why we are friends.
This is for her so she stops posting negative comments about my use of sausage. Yatch.
So here’s to you Rachel, keep your standards high. Well some of the standards, if they get too high then you’ll probably stop returning my phone calls.
The first thing you’ll have to do to make this, is roast half of a butternut squash. Cut it half and remove the seeds, then pierce the skin of squash with a fork all over. I would suggest cutting the halves into quarters to make the cooking time faster. Roast at 350°F for 45 minutes to an hour. Scoop the cooked squash away from the skin and mash together in a bowl. (If you would like a more “squashy” risotto, cook both halves.)
Half an hour into the cooking time start the risotto.
Risotto seemed way too complicated to make for a long time, I thought of it as this fancy dish only to be enjoyed at restaurants. Once again, I was wrong. I’m wrong so often it doesn’t really bother me anymore.
All risotto requires is attention, you have to keep the rice moving and a sharp eye on how much liquid is in the pan. I add liquid by the ladle full instead of cups.
Start by heating 6 cups of broth to a simmer, for this one I used vegetable broth, but beef or chicken works just as well. Dice an onion and some garlic and sautée them in olive oil until the onions are translucent. Then add 1 1/2 cups of Arborio Rice, sautée the rice for one minute, constantly stirring. Add the first cup, or ladles of broth, stir and watch as the rice absorbs the liquid. When the broth has been completely soaked up add more. This will take about half an hour, add half a cup of white wine last. Check the rice for doneness.
Once the rice is done fold in 1/2 cup of Gruyère chesse, and the mashed roasted squash.
Sprinkle raw walnuts on top. The walnuts add this great crunchy texture, and adds a woody flavor that gives balance to the sharpness of the cheese and the sweetness of the squash.
And some more cheese.
Eat. Eat. EAT!
1/2 (or 1 whole) Butternut Squash
3 tablespoons Olive oil
1 whole yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice
6 cups Vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
1 1/2 cups walnuts
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 350° and prepare squash for roasting. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over the squash and cook for one hour. Once cooked, mash or puree the cooked squash. Heat six cups of broth over medium heat. Dice one onion and two garlic cloves. Sautée these over medium heat in one tablespoon of Olive oil for five minutes or until translucent. Add 1 1/2 cups arborio rice and remainder of olive oil and cook in the pan for 2 minutes. Add broth one cup at a time stirring often until all liquids have absorbed. Lastly add 1/2 cup of dry white wine. After this is absorbed add 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese and the roasted squash. Fold in 1 cup of walnuts, serving half a cup for garnish.