Risotto has a rap of being difficult to do. I’m not sure how many people have told me that they think Risotto is difficult, mainly apparently because certain TV chefs yell and screa m on their shows about them. I have no idea why. There is a bit of stirring involved but it’s really not constant. You can walk away and come back and they whole shebang should only take 18 minutes provided that you do the one thing that really really makes a difference, which is keeping your pot of broth or stock HOT that you are adding to the dish. When you try to use cold or room temperature broth it cools the whole dish down every time you add some and it ends up taking a LOT longer to make the risotto!
You can add so many things to the basic risotto, just herbs, seasonal vegetables – the butternut squash is what i’ve used here but change it up for asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms or whatever you have in season. Add sauteed shrimp to the top or stir cooked chicken through for a creamy chicken and rice.
This one is always a hit in classes, a recent class at a new kitchen studio loved it. I followed that up with a cooking demonstration of this one on a local morning news show. So much fun! This was one of two cooking demonstrations, I followed it up with Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles. I’m always so nervous to go on those shows but the staff are so nice, they make everything so fun and easy!
Butternut Squash, Sage
and Pecorino Risotto
(Makes 8 servings
- 7 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 ¼ cups finely chopped onion
- 1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into ½ to 3/4 –inch dice (about 3 cups)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 cups Arborio rice (about 13 ½ ounces)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves (about 4 ounces)
- ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
Bring 7 cups broth to boil in large saucepan. Cover and reduce heat to low. Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add squash and 1 ½ teaspoons sage; sauté 4 minutes to coat with butter. Add rice and stir 2 minutes. Add wine and simmer until evaporated, about 1 minute. Add hot broth to cover; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until rice is just tender,stirring and adding more broth as it absorbed, about 18 minutes. Stir in spinach, and Pecorino cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.