I LOVE FALL PRODUCE. I think it is beautiful with the reds, oranges and yellows, it is so fun to cook because the squashes are so flexible and the shelf life is so much longer than the sensitive berries and peaches of summer. Anyway, every time fall comes around, I essentially go on a butternut squash/acorn squash/ sugar pumpkin binge.
Pumpkin from the patch
One of my favorite recipes that I actually do cook year-round is butternut squash risotto. For people who are unfamiliar about the glories of risotto, it is a arribo rice, that you cook very slowly by stirring in liquid about 1/2 cup at a time for around 20-30 minutes (depending on your batch). The best part about risotto is that it can include absolutely no dairy but tastes super rich and creamy. Essentially the process of cooking the rice slowly brings out the starches in the rice which creates that creamy taste.
Butternut Squash Risotto
Butternut Squash Risotto
1 butternut squash cubed (or just buy two small packs of chopped squash at trader joes)
1/4 c white wine
2 tbs olive oil
5-6 cups of chicken broth/water (I usually use one large chicken broth and 2 cups water)
2 cups arribo rice
In a small pot, bring the chicken broth/water and butternut squash to a boil. Let simmer for about 5 minutes, remove from heat and use an immersion blender to blend in the squash into the broth. You can also use a food processor (very carefully) or a blender if you do not have an immersion blender.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the sliced bacon on the sheet and put it in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes. The oven does not have to be pre-heated.
Heat a large pan over medium heat for about a minute. Pour in the rice and let toast for about a minute. Pour a little olive oil over the rice, continue to stir until the grains become very light brown/golden blonde.
Add a splash of wine wine while continuing to stir the rice. Once the wine has been absorbed, 1/2-1 cup at a time, gradually add the liquid until the rice as absorbed almost all of the excess liquid in the pan. Stirring along the way. Once it looks like more liquid is needed, continue to add another 1/2 cup. This process should take about about 20-30 minutes. Make sure to taste the rice along the way as it often looks cooked prior to tasting cooked.
Once the rice is cooked, garnish with bacon. Sometimes I add a little of the bacon grease to the rice for extra flavor… Did I mention I love bacon?