Delicata Squash Risotto

Butternut squash is well known for it's rich, sweet, and wonderful texture. It is also a fantastic substitute for more starchy carbohydrates. But we all know peeling is the hardest part of cooking any winter squash. Enter Delicata squash, also known as sweet potato squash. Delicata squash does not need to be peeled, and the flavour is even richer and the texture even creamier than butternut. Adding Delicata to our classic Risotto recipe results in a delicious and easy dish, perfect for a healthy, weeknight meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium delicata squash
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 7 to 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock, as needed
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage (optional)
  •  2 to 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 to 1 cup), to taste
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper


Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Start by trimming the ends of the squash, cut lengthwise and then in half, so you end up with 4 pieces from each squash. Remove the seeds with a spoon. We are using one whole squash to puree so leave 4 pieces whole and dice 4 pieces into 1/2 inch cubes. Transfer to the baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. With the half squash pieces facing cut-side down, bake for 20 minutes, stirring the cubes half way through the cooking time. When they are golden brown remove from the oven. Let cool for few minutes. When they are safe to handle, spoon the flesh out of the half squash pieces and make into a puree with the help of a fork. Reserved the cubes.
  2. Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan.
  3. Heat the remaining oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick frying pan or a wide saucepan and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about 5-7 minutes, add the garlic, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender and the garlic fragrant, about 1 minute, and add the rice. Cook, stirring, until the grains of rice are separate.
  4. Stir in the wine and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. The wine should bubble, but not too quickly. When the wine has just about evaporated, stir in a ladleful or two of the simmering stock, enough to just cover the rice. The stock should bubble slowly. Cook, stirring often, until it is just about absorbed. Add another ladleful of the stock, and continue to cook in this fashion, not too fast and not too slowly, adding more stock when the rice is almost dry.
  5. When the rice is almost cooked, about 18 minutes in, add squash puree and sage (if using) and stir well, add salt to taste and continue to add broth and stirring until the rice is cooked through with a little bit of a bite in the center, about 5 more minutes. You may not use all of the broth, that’s ok, stop adding broth when the rice is cooked. The risotto should be creamy and moist. Turn the stove off and add the parmesan cheese and butter. Stir well, add freshly ground black pepper, taste one last time and adjust salt.  Serve immediately, top with the roasted cubes of Delicata squash chopped parsley for garnish.


Servings


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