On New Years Eve pre-party, the lovely Karen and I made dinner at my place and drank Prosecco to toast the new year. I had a butternut squash I had bought about a week ago to make soup - but never got around to it, and didn't think that soup was the best choice for a new year's pre-party boozy night. I just happened to be watching the Top Chef marathon on the Food Network earlier in the day, and one of the contestants made a butternut squash risotto. I thought ha! That's a great idea! I also had some cremini mushrooms in the fridge, and surprisingly every other necessary ingredient to make risotto. After surfing around a bit online to find recipe inspiration, I found some in this recipe on A Mingling of Tastes. I followed fairly closely, and the result? AMAZING. Like, truly fantastic. I already want to make it again.
Roasted Butternut and Mushroom Risotto (follow the link to the blog above if you want to see the original, as I have improvised a bit here)
2 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups cremini mushrooms (or other kinds, up to you), sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 L chicken broth
3/4 cup white wine
dried thyme and rosemary, to taste
s&p, to taste
1/3 cup Parmesan, plus some for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and wipe lightly with oil (or if you have cooking spray use that - I don't typically buy it). On the baking sheet, toss the butternut squash with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper and dried thyme. Roast until tender and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat half the olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until their water nearly evaporates, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until tender, about 3 more minutes. Set aside.
Heat the chicken broth (it does not have to boil) in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
In a large saucepan or soup pot, heat remaining oil and butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add the rice and stir constantly for 2 to 3 minutes until all the grains are slick and slightly opaque. Add the wine and simmer until almost completely absorbed.
Add two ladles full of broth to the risotto and bring to a simmer. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Keep the risotto at a steady simmer, stirring continuously until the broth has evaporated almost completely. Add one ladle full of broth, stir until it is nearly evaporated, then add another ladle full. Continue simmering and stirring, adding broth as necessary, for about 20 - 22 minutes or until the rice is creamy and cooked through, but still firm to the bite. When the risotto is on its last ladle full of broth, add roasted squash. Serve immediately with Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste.
You may not use all the broth (I had about 1/2 cup left). If you run out of broth, just use hot water to finish the risotto. It’s not absolutely necessary to stir for 22 minutes straight, but you don’t want to put down your spoon for too long or leave the risotto unattended and risk scorching.