Risotto is one of the first “difficult” dishes I ever attempted. Turns out, it’s really not that hard — it just requires a lot of attention. I have made several variations, and they all turn out wonderfully, as long as I devote 30-40 minutes to standing over the stove without any prolonged interruptions. It’s also an excellent excuse to crack open a bottle of wine and enjoy a glass while you’re cooking!
This particular recipe is one of my favorites, and it makes great use of a plentiful fall veggie, butternut squash.
Plus we have an insane rosemary bush in our backyard, so any excuse to use a bit of rosemary is a good thing!
Butternut Squash, Rosemary and Blue Cheese Risotto
Based on this recipe
7 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch dice (about 3 cups)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces), plus additional for serving
Bring 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 rosemary, stirring to coat with butter. Sauté a few minutes more. Add rice and stir for a couple of minutes to toast. Add wine and deglaze pan.
Add about a cup of hot broth and simmer until absorbed. Add warm broth cup by cup, allowing to simmer until absorbed each time, until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy and slightly soupy, stirring occasionally. This should take 20-25 minutes, and you may not use all the broth.
Stir in spinach, cream, and Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer risotto to serving bowls. Sprinkle with blue cheese and serve.
My other favorite thing about this risotto (or any risotto, really), is that you have a built-in meal from leftovers — risotto croquettes! Just form the leftover risotto into balls, stuff a fresh mozzarella ball into the center (ciliegine tends to work best), roll it in a beaten egg and then bread crumbs, and fry in a little olive oil until golden brown. Serve with a nice salad, and it’s a second dinner!
If you have an especially ambitious spouse, you may be able to get an extra-fancy salad with crispy leeks and sliced watermelon radishes out of the deal.
I’m a pretty lucky girl.