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Butternut Squash and Parmesan Risotto
Far Niente Estate Bottled Chardonnay, Napa Valley
by Executive Chef Trevor Eliason
Butternut Squash Purée:
1 small butternut squash
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon fresh nutmeg,
2 cups Arborio rice
½ yellow onion, diced
1 cup white wine
4 cups chicken or
vegetable stock, heated
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup cold butter, diced
3-4 tablespoons chives, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, white pepper,
nutmeg to taste
This is an easy, seasonal dish that can be prepared quickly and explained in two steps. Step one is to make the butternut squash purée that will be added to the risotto later. Remove the outer skin from the squash, slice open, and remove the seeds. Discard the skin and seeds. Cut the squash into small pieces and place in a sauce pan with 2 cups of stock and 1 cup of cream. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the squash is very tender. Remove the squash, reserving the liquid, then add to a blender or food processer and purée on high, adding back just enough of the cooking liquid so the squash purées smoothly. Season to taste with salt, white pepper and nutmeg.
A note about stirring: This method for making risotto allows the rice to sit, without much stirring, as the following instructions describe. You may, of course, stir through each of the following steps if you prefer.
Step two starts with a medium-size sauce pan on medium heat with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the rice to the warm pan and stir slowly until the rice becomes slightly translucent. Stir in the diced onion and allow it to become slightly translucent as well, then add the white wine and allow it to reduce by half. Slowly add hot chicken stock to the pan until the risotto is covered and allow the rice to come to a simmer. Continue adding the chicken stock just enough at a time to keep the rice covered. When the rice becomes al dente, stop adding the stock and allow the remaining liquid to reduce by half. While stirring, add the cheese and allow to fully incorporate into the rice, then add the squash purée and, finally, the butter. Season with salt, white pepper, nutmeg and chives.