Since my deep affection for Italian risotto is not shared by my family, I consequently don’t make it very often. But with butternut squash in season, I decided to search for a new risotto recipe that might get one of MY favorite dinners on the menu rotation (can anyone relate?). Leave it to Ina Garten to inspire this heavenly AG safe risotto! Be forewarned, the saffron threads are expensive (I paid $16 for a jar and used about 2/3 of it for this dish alone). We thought it was worth it; however, I read in a comment for the original recipe, that it was just as delicious without them. I think the biggest secret here is roasting the butternut squash first, it really brings out the sweetness. If you can tolerate dairy, add the parmesan cheese. If not, it’s no problem, the flavor is phenomenal either way. My husband still isn’t crazy about the texture, but I caught him going back for seconds and even thirds! You know we’ll be having this at our house every fall. Yum!
1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
6 cups vegetable broth or stock
3 tablespoons butter, butter substitute, or olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop the butternut squash into cubes. Place it on a sheet pan; drizzle with the olive oil and season with about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (more or less depending on your taste). Toss gently. Roast for 25 minutes, turning once, or until tender.
Warm the vegetable broth in a saucepan on low heat.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter (or heat the olive oil). Add the shallots and cook for about 10 minutes or until they are translucent but not brown. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add about 1 cup of vegetable stock to the rice, plus the saffron threads, and a little more salt and pepper to taste. Stir and simmer over medium low heat until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue adding the stock, about a cup at a time, stirring and cooking until most all the liquid is absorbed. Rice should be cooked through, but still al dente. Will take about 30 minutes. When done, remove from heat. Add the squash and parmesan cheese; mix well, salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.
Adapted from here: Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash