Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Risotto is a favorite dish in our house.  It is fairly easy to make, inexpensive to make a lot of and is a great alternative to pasta for a gluten free diet, and a vegetarian main course.

So risotto is one of those things where you can experiment a little bit with ingredients, as long as you follow the rules with timing.

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
1 Butternut Squash, chopped in 1-2″ pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, Pepper, Paprika to taste

1 onion, chopped finely
3 carrots, chopped finely
3 stalks of celery, chopped finely
4 cups of Vegetable/Chicken Broth
1 1/2 cup of arborio rice
2 tbsp of butter
1/4 cup of white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmigiana
Salt and Pepper to taste

Peel and cut the butternut squash and put all chopped pieces in a colander and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle of salt, pepper and paprika.  On a covered cookie sheet lay out the pieces of squash and bake in the oven for 35 minutes at 375 degrees.

Once the squash is in the oven, move onto the risotto.  In a separate sauce pan bring the vegetable/chicken stock to a boil.  
In a large sauce pan add 1/2 tbsp of butter to the pan and then add the finely chopped onion, carrots, and celery. Add salt and pepper to taste – just a pinch, because you’ll continue to layer the flavors.

When the vegetables are softened add the rice to the pan on medium/low heat and let it saute until the pieces are translucent.  When the rice is translucent add the first ladle of stock.
Let the rice simmer in the broth, stirring frequently, until it is completely absorbed.  When the broth is absorbed add another ladle and continue the process of adding, stirring, absorbing until all of the stock is used up.   You’ll notice that as the broth is being absorbed the rice with release it’s natural starchiness and become creamy. 

After the last ladle, but before the broth is completely absorbed make a well in the rice and add a cup of the now roasted squash.  Using a potato masher (or a spoon), mash up the cup of squash and combine it with the risotto.  The mashed squash adds beautiful color and rich flavor.
Then add the rest of the squash, the remaining butter (in pieces) and the parmigiana cheese and gently stir all of the ingredients. 

This is a perfect winter weeknight dinner, enjoy the comfort of good food!

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