Butternut Squash Risotto
Creamy, garlic parmesan risotto with sweet butternut squash and fresh herbs. Perfect way to welcome fall season.
Sharing today, creamy, garlicky homemade butternut squash risotto for Italian restaurant-quality meatless dinner in comfort of your own home!
Fall season may be a month away but I can see everyone going crazy for pumpkin and squash recipes. So, I decided to give you another reason to grab some butternut squash from Farmer's Market today.
I'm so excited to share this recipe. You know, how risotto is treated as pricey Italian restaurant dish which you can never get right at home. I wanted to take that intimidation out of cooking risotto at home. Risotto is just like cooking any other rice. Only major difference is: to get that signature creamy risotto texture, it needs your attention rather than add to a pot and let it cook itself.
So, if you never tried cooking risotto at home, this recipe is perfect place to start. I promise!
And if you are risotto expert! Then I highly recommend trying this garlicky parmesan and sweet butternut squash risotto. In one sentence, this squash risotto is perfect way to get ready to welcome fall season!
What is risotto all about?
When I cooked risotto first time, I did some research to understand what's the deal. Why everyone think risotto is so hard to cook. So, based on my research, and a few authentic risottos I had in Italian eateries over the years... Here is what you all need to know.:
1. Risotto is one pan creamy rice. Mostly rice used are Italian arborio rice or thick grain starchy rice which make risotto creamy.
2. Instead of plain water, risotto gets flavor from fortified liquid such as chicken stock, shrimp stock or vegetable stock.
3. Like I mentioned earlier, risotto needs 15-18 minutes of your time to cook perfectly creamy. Stock is added... say 1/3 cup at a time to let rice absorb liquid and release it's starch as it cooks. Idea is to not let rice go dry at any time. If rice are left on it's own, these will soak up all liquid and creamy texture will be lost.
So, to make this risotto. I start by sauteing aromatics.. Like onion, garlic and some spices for this squash risotto, then I add the diced squash and let it cook for sometime so that squash is slightly tender before rice are added.
Speaking of squash, If you don't like to peel and slice a fresh squash... most grocery stores carry pre-diced butternut squash in fresh produce refrigerator section. Also, frozen squash is available all year round which cooks quicker than fresh butternut squash. Since it's almost squash season, you can even roast the whole squash and then peel skin off the tender cooked squash.
Please note, a pre-cooked squash like roasted squash is best folded in last 5 minutes of cooking risotto or it will get very mushy and loose it's texture.
Now, let's discuss dietary information.
This risotto recipe is vegetarian, gluten free, and also packed potassium and folates from butternut squash. I added some butter and parmesan to it. Even though Parmesan really enhance the flavor of sweet butternut squash.. You can easily make it vegan by using vegan substitutes or skipping these two ingredients.
Using seasonal fruits and veggies in main course meals bring us close to nature and gives opportunity to eat healthier and fresh. Like this Butternut Squash risotto is great way to welcome fall and enjoy some seasonal squash with family.
What are you favorite ways to cook squash for dinner? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Have a wonderful day ahead. -Savita x
Follow this easy recipe to make Homemade vegetable stock for risotto.
Butternut Squash Risotto
- 1 Cup Rice (Arbio or thick grain Italian risotto rice)
- 2-3 tbsp Mint (fresh leaves, chopped)
- 1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)
- 2 Cloves (garlic, minced)
- 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder (optional)
- 1/4 tsp Chili Flakes
- 1/2 lbs Butternut Squash (half medium squash, cubed. also use frozen, pre-diced)
- 3 Cup Vegetable Stock
- 2 Shallot Onions (or 1/2 white onion, small diced)
- 3 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1. In a sauce pan, bring vegetable stock to simmer and keep on medium low heat. Or microwave in heat-safe container and set near-by.
- 2. In wide pan, melt 1 tbsp butter, add garlic, onion and saute until onions are soft (4-5 minutes). (Stir often and don't let garlic burn) Add chili flakes, and cumin powder (if using), then saute for 30 seconds.
3. Add squash and cook on medium-high heat until it softens slightly. Add rice with 1 tbsp more butter. Mix well with veggies. Additional Notes: If using frozen squash, it will soft quickly.4. Toast rice with veggies for about 2 minutes to toast the grains, then start adding stock 1/3 cup at a time. (don't let rice dry out, keep adding stock as needed.)
5. Cook for 15-18 minutes or until rice are tender and creamy, and squash is well cooked. Mix in parmesan, and remaining butter. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Fold in fresh chopped mint.6. Spoon into bowls and serve immediately.
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