Butternut Squash Risotto America's Test Kitchen

Butternut Squash Risotto America's Test Kitchen
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Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 10
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 266.1
  • Total Fat: 8.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 15.3 mg
  • Sodium: 275.9 mg
  • Total Carbs: 36.0 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2.0 g
  • Protein: 5.4 g

View full nutritional breakdown of Butternut Squash Risotto America's Test Kitchen calories by ingredient
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Introduction

Butternut squash and risotto should make a perfect culinary couple, but too often the squash and rice never become properly intertwined. The squash is reduced to overly sweet orange blobs or the whole dish becomes a gluey squash paste. We wanted to find a way to integrate the flavor of the squash with the risotto but still preserve their individual personalities—to create a creamy, orange-tinged rice fully infused with deep (but not overly sweet) squash flavor.

We started with our basic risotto recipe, then addressed the squash. When added to the rice at the beginning, the squash ended up as squash paste; if we waited until the end, it never integrated properly with the rice. We decided to brown the diced squash in a skillet (oven- roasting made it too sweet) and set it aside while we sautéed the aromatics and toasted the rice. We added only half of the squash with the first addition of liquid. This squash broke down somewhat during cooking and infused the rice with its flavor; the remaining squash, added when the rice was finished, retained its shape and texture. Chicken broth cut with water was the basis of the liquid, but we simmered the squash seeds and fibers in it to intensify the squash flavor. And white wine balanced the squash’s sweetness. This creamy risotto had deep squash flavor and pleasing textures.
Butternut squash and risotto should make a perfect culinary couple, but too often the squash and rice never become properly intertwined. The squash is reduced to overly sweet orange blobs or the whole dish becomes a gluey squash paste. We wanted to find a way to integrate the flavor of the squash with the risotto but still preserve their individual personalities—to create a creamy, orange-tinged rice fully infused with deep (but not overly sweet) squash flavor.

We started with our basic risotto recipe, then addressed the squash. When added to the rice at the beginning, the squash ended up as squash paste; if we waited until the end, it never integrated properly with the rice. We decided to brown the diced squash in a skillet (oven- roasting made it too sweet) and set it aside while we sautéed the aromatics and toasted the rice. We added only half of the squash with the first addition of liquid. This squash broke down somewhat during cooking and infused the rice with its flavor; the remaining squash, added when the rice was finished, retained its shape and texture. Chicken broth cut with water was the basis of the liquid, but we simmered the squash seeds and fibers in it to intensify the squash flavor. And white wine balanced the squash’s sweetness. This creamy risotto had deep squash flavor and pleasing textures.

Number of Servings: 10

Ingredients

    INGREDIENTS
    2tablespoons olive oil
    1 butternut squash (medium, about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded (fibers and seeds reserved), and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
    3/4teaspoon table salt
    3/4teaspoon ground black pepper
    4cups low-sodium chicken broth
    1cup water
    4tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 small onions , chopped very fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
    2medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
    2cups Arborio rice
    1 1/2cups dry white wine
    1 1/2ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup)
    2tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
    1/4teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

Directions

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add about 3 1/2 cups squash in even layer and cook without stirring until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender and browned, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer squash to bowl and set aside.
2. Return skillet to medium heat; add reserved squash fibers and seeds and any leftover diced squash. Cook, stirring frequently to break up fibers, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to large saucepan and add chicken broth and water; cover saucepan and bring mixture to simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain bare simmer.
3. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat; when foaming subsides, add onions, garlic, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add rice to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are translucent around edges, about 3 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until fully absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, strain hot broth through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Return strained broth to saucepan and discard solids in strainer; cover saucepan and set over low heat to keep broth hot.
5. When wine is fully absorbed, add 3 cups hot broth and half of reserved squash to rice. Simmer, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and bottom of pan is almost dry, about 12 minutes.
6. Stir in about 1/2 cup hot broth and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed, about 3 minutes; repeat with additional broth 2 or 3 more times, until rice is al dente. Off heat, stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, Parmesan, sage, and nutmeg; gently fold in remaining cooked squash. If desired, add up to 1/4 cup additional hot broth to loosen texture of risotto. Serve immediately.

Number of Servings: 10

Recipe submitted by SparkPeople user SPARROWSWING.

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