Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Sage

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Butternut squash is a pain. It’s hard to peel, hard to cut, and you often don’t need the whole squash for your recipe. Pre-cut squash can be slimy and the chunks are too large. Some recipes are worth the trouble. This one is.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package or bunch of fresh sage
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 of a medium butternut squash
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • 1 c. Arborio rice
  • 1/2 c. White wine
  • 4 c. Chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/3 c. (More or less) Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

1) Peel the butternut squash, cut lengthwise, and remove seeds. Wrap half in plastic wrap and put in fridge for another meal to come. You’ll be so happy because your squash is ready to go! Cut the other half into 1/2 inch cubes.

2) Chop shallot. Chop about 1/4 of the sage. Cut off the stems from the remaining sage leaves.

3) Put the broth into a medium saucepan and heat over low heat. You want the broth to be warm during the cooking process.

4) In a Dutch oven or similar pan, melt 1 T. butter and a little olive oil. Add the sage leaves (not the chopped sage) and sauté until the leaves turn dark and slightly crispy. Remove from pan and sprinkle with salt.

5) Add a little more butter and/or olive oil to the pan and add the shallot. Cook for a minute or so and add the butternut squash. Cook on medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add salt, pepper, and some nutmeg – maybe about 1/4 t.

6) Add Arborio rice, stir, and cook for a minute to get the rice nicely coated. Add the white wine and cook for 2 minutes, until most of the wine evaporates.

7) Now comes the fun part. Set your timer for 35 minutes. Ladle 1-2 ladlefuls of hot broth into the rice mixture and stir. For the next 35 minutes, this is what you’ll be doing. I pour myself a glass of wine, grab my sudoku, and go back and forth between wine/sudoku and ladle broth/stir. Don’t let too much time pass before stirring or your risotto will stick to the bottom of the pan and you’ll be very unhappy.

8) After 35 minutes, taste the rice to make sure it’s cooked, and add salt, the chopped sage, 1 T. butter, and the Parmesan cheese and stir.

9) To serve, spoon some risotto into a shallow bowl and top with the crispy sage leaves.

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