Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Sugared Walnuts*

I love winter squash.  Especially butternut squash.  I think the first time I had butternut squash was when I was visiting home during my sophomore year of college and went to the Seattle Asian Art Museum with my mom one weekday.  We stopped at a cafe for lunch and I had the butternut squash soup and I was hooked.  Fall is my favorite season, and the first thing I associate fall with is...you guessed it...butternut squash. So when I went home in October, I found the perfect recipe to try.  Yeah, yeah, the post is really late.  But I think you can still get butternut squash in some places! 

The ingredient of honor, butternut squash.  

*Instead of walnuts, we used pecans.  Here they are, pre-toasting and sugaring

Prepping the butternut squash to go in the oven

Ready to feast!

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Sugared Walnuts, borrowed from Cooking Light

Serves 8

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 4 1/2 cups water* (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup water and 4 cups low sodium chicken broth, but I used water instead)
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/4 cup uncooked arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup chardonnay
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Arrange nuts in a single layer on a jelly roll (read: baking pan) pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes or until they are toasted, stirring slightly.  Place the nuts in a bowl and drizzle the butter over it.  Sprinkle with the sugar and 1/8 tsp. pepper and stir to coat.

Combine the squash and 1 tbsp. of the oil, tossing to coat.  Arrange the squash in a single layer on a baking pan, and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes (until the squash is tender).  Remove from the pan and stir in the garlic.  

Bring the water to a simmer in a saucepan (do not boil).  Keep it warm over low heat.  

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the rice and cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the wine and cook for about 1 minute until the liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly.  Add the water mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until each portion is absorbed before adding the next portion (should take about 20 minutes total).  

Stir in the squash, thyme, 1/4 tsp. salt,  and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Top with the nuts and the cheese.  cin cin! 

Ending Notes: I don't know if maybe I'm just not a fan of risotto, or maybe I just don't like butternut squash when it is not in soup - but this dish was just okay.  It was actually kind of bland.  Blah! It was worth a shot, but I don't think I would try this recipe again.  Maybe if I did, I'd throw some cayenne pepper in somewhere along the way.