Federico’s butternut squash and sage risotto

Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes

Federico’s butternut squash and sage risotto

In Italy we use “zucca” (pumpkin), the short and large variety with thick green skin and an uneven surface, but I live in Scotland now and the best practical approach is to buy a butternut squash at the supermarket. The risotto came out very well and everybody in the family enjoyed it. This recipe requires some multitasking skills because you need to roast part of the butternut squash while you are doing the rest of the ingredient preparation. Then, during the actual risotto making, 5 minutes before the final garnishing and serving, you will need to sauté some diced butternut squash. It is therefore important you master the basic risotto first, unless you are a seasoned cook of course. My best advice is to look at the "parmigiana risotto" recipe I published in the past. Try the Parmigiana risotto a few times and when the procedure becomes familiar, then you can commit yourself to this new one. At the time I made the recipe (14th June 2011) the sage in my garden was at its best so I have decided to infuse the risotto with sage leaves and to garnish the final dish with sage flowers, which are edible, but about this claim I recommend you check in the internet for the sake of safety and clarity.  
Note: in the following directions, I will not go into detail about risotto overall cooking time, stock addition and other tips. For this, please refer to the basic "parmigiana risotto" recipe featured in the risotto section of the website. 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 650 kcal

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Ingredients
 

  • 400 grams (12-14 oz) Arborio rice
  • 100 grams (4 oz) Butter (separate in two 25 g knobs and one 50 g knob)
  • 1 Onion, medium size (finely chopped)
  • 100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) White wine
  • 2 litres Vegetable stock (I have used vegetable bouillon)
  • 1 Butternut squash
  • 2-3 Sage leaves
  • 50 grams (2 oz) Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Some sage flowers for the final garnish

Instructions

  • First thing first, pre-heat the oven to 200°C (395°F). Then, divide the butternut squash in two parts. Take the bottom part (the wider one), remove the skin, cut it in half, remove the seeds and  slice it.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Take an oven tray, line the tray with baking paper and place the squash slices onto it. In a small pan, melt 25g (3/4 ounce) of butter and brush all the slices with the melted butter. Keep the remaining butter, because you will be using it for the sauté of the diced squash at a later stage.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Roast the squash for about 20-25 minutes, until it is soft (it is ready when a fork goes through the flesh with no resistance). While you are waiting for the squash to be roasted, prepare the vegetable stock and carry on with the rest of the ingredient preparation (chop the onion, grate the cheese etc.).
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • I have used a fan assisted oven and my slices were ready after 25 minutes.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Now, we are going to make a squash purée. Using a scissor, or a pairing knife, remove the charred tips from the squash slices. Put the slices into a jug and add a ladle of stock.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Blend.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • The purée should be smooth and not have any trace of dark bits. Cover with cling film and set aside.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Now, take the top part of the butternut squash (the narrow one), remove the skin and cut out few rectangles, roughly 6-8 mm (1/4" – 1/3").
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • From the rectangles, cut out sticks (batons).
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Finally, from the sticks, cut into dice. Aim for dice of equal size with sides length of about 6-8 mm (1/4" – 1/3").
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Put the diced butternut squah into a bowl, cover and set aside.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Now, we start to make the risotto. Melt 50g (2 ounces) of butter in a large pan. Add the finely chopped onion and sweat over a medium heat for about 3-5 minutes or until the onion is soft.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Add the rice.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Stir until the rice is completely coated with the butter. You can see that the rice will start to become translucent. Keep stirring and sweat the rice for a minute or two.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Then, add the white wine.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Keep stirring and let the wine evaporate (it will probably take a couple of minutes).
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Add the hot vegetable stock, a ladleful at a time. Stir regularly and add more stock as the rice absorb the liquid. Carry on this way until the rice is cooked.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Meanwhile, after  the second addition of stock, add the squash purée.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Stir to evenly mix the purée with the rice.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Add two or three sage leaves to infuse the risotto (remove and discard the leaves after about 10 minutes).
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Continue cooking the risotto, stirring regularly and adding stock when required.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • If you are familiar with the risotto making, you will know when it is about 5 minutes from being perfectly cooked. So, 5 minutes before the end, use the butter you have kept aside when brushing the squash slices and sauté the squash dice.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • The aim here is to soften and colour the squash dice, which will be used for the final garnishing of the risotto. It should take no more than 5 minutes.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • The sauté also caramelise the dice surface, bringing out flavour and enhancing sweetness. My advice is not to season the dice at all; to retain the squash's original flavour.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Near the final stage of the risotto making, check the seasoning and add salt and pepper according to taste (watch the salt because we are going to add some Parmesan cheese soon, which is salty).
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • When the rice is perfectly cooked ”al dente”, add the Parmesan cheese and stir for few seconds.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Then, off the fire, add all the remaining butter (you should still have about 25g – 3/4 ounce of butter left) and stir until completely melted.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Quickly stir, to complete the melting of the butter (this stage is called “mantecatura”) and cover the pan with a lid for about 1 minute, allowing the risotto to rest before serving it.
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
  • Risotto should be served "all'onda" (like a wave). This means that when you serve it onto a plate, it should still flow a little. Garnish with squash dice and sage flowers. Alternatively, instead of the sage flowers, you could use a couple of fried sage leaves (see the "salvia fritta" recipe featured in the specials section of the website) with one Parmesan chip in the centre. 
    Federico's butternut squash and sage risotto | Risotto recipes
Enjoyed the recipe?Buy us a glass of wine!
Federico
Jeremy

Buon appetito! Thank you from Federico (recipe Maestro) and Jeremy (web Geek).

Nutrition

Calories: 650kcal
Keyword Risotto
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Published
Categorised as Risotto

By Federico

Federico Pezzaioli is an ex-badass Italian Paratrooper on a mission - to make creating delicious authentic Italian food really easy. He researches, writes and photographs each recipe with the same attention to detail he used to apply to packing his parachute.

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