My husband generally refuses to believe that a meal without meat can actually be a meal, unless we’re talking about breakfast…until now.
Comfort food came in the form of pot roast the just yesterday—but now it comes in a vegetarian and delicious kind of way. Moral? Comfort food on a cold night can mean different things to different people, but I dare you, I simply dare you, not to try a dish of delicious risotto on a November night.
A few years back, when I was living in Richmond, my darling friend Leigh Ann and I supped at a quaint and yummy spot called Millie’s. That was my first encounter with the vegetable known as butternut squash, and my first encounter with risotto. And what a sweet meeting it was!
I have dreamt of that risotto since then.
And I have hunted for recipes that might be as good.
And I believe I have finally found the one….
….actually, I have no recollection of how this one wound up in my books, but I have tampered with it enough so that I would call it my own.
Before you can behold the greatness in recipe form, let me share with you:
NOTE–you may go ahead and roast up the butternut squash before, if you are so inclined and desire that flavor, but the squash will cook up perfectly as directed.
NOTE–if you must have meat, might I suggest crisping up some bacon to crumble upon each serving? The salty, crunchiness of bacon will be a nice contrast to the creaminess of the risotto.
NOTE–you, of course, are free to do what you will with this recipe. I think a good swap for the Parmesan would be goat cheese. Now that I’m thinking about it, I am so trying that next time!
FINAL NOTE: this can be a hearty and filling main dish, or a great side to a meat dish–my hubs Farley loves it as a main now! yeah! and we’re thinking about making this again next week to go with some short ribs….yay or nay? Let me know!
Now, kind reader, please make the happy acquaintance of my new best friend,
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND PARMESAN RISOTTO
1–Before you do anything else, peel, seed, and chop up a 3 lb. butternut squash into a small dice, about 1/4 inch. This is the largest prep you need to do. While you’re at it, chop up 2 onions (2 cups) and thinly slice 4 cloves of garlic.
2–In a large enough saucepan/stockpot (I used my 6 quart pot) heat over medium-low heat 2 T. butter and 2 T. olive oil. Saute these until they are soft, but not golden. **make sure you have a deep enough pot!**
3–Add in the squash and 2 3/4 cups arborio rice and stir for 2-3 minutes.
4–Add in 3/4 cup dry white wine and stir until absorbed….and then have a little sip yourself. I mean, why not? You need something to do while you are stirring up this risotto for the next 30 minutes or so! (I used Zeal wine, a great and affordable sauvignon blanc, available at Sam’s Club, which hubs and I love and keep by the case at our house.)
5–Now comes the tedious-but-well-worth-it segment of our post…the stock adding. In 1/2 cup increments, add chicken stock and stir until it is absorbed. How will you know if it is absorbed or merely just getting creamier? Easy! Lift up your risotto and check the bottom of the pan. When there isn’t anymore liquid there, and it looks like your risotto is lightly covered in sauce (versus swimming amid sauce), that’s when you go ahead and add another 1/2 cupful of stock.
**Should take about 7 cups of stock**
6–When your rice and squash are creamy and have a little bit of texture to them, you are finished…..almost!
7—Softly stir in 2 cups cheese (freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago are great for flavor) (but you could also use a mix of regular grating cheese –which for me is a Parmesan and Romano blen– and shredded Parmesan, since that’s what I had, or you could try the goat cheese suggestion above!), 1/2 tsp. lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
So delicious, so creamy.
Like I said, my husband loved it last night and loved it as a main dish, and he is the carnivore of our marriage.
Funnily, I prefer it as a side when eaten day-of….but as I am devouring a healthy-sized bowl of this here whilst writing, I am enjoying it even more the second time around.
Hope you do, too!
Enjoy and happy eating!