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  • Acorn Squash Risotto with Sage Browned Butter

    Friday, December 31, 2010

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    I love squash of all types and one of my favorites is the acorn.  The acorn has a bit more body to it than the butternut and I find it is a little more nutty in flavor.  While just about any squash is delish roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper, I thought a risotto would be a great way to highlight the delight of this seasonal favorite.

    If you’ve never made risotto, it’s really not as mysterious as it appears.  The most challenging part is determining doneness….a beautiful risotto can go from just right to overcooked in the blink of an eye (and, much like your best girlfriend in high school, there is no way to rescue a good risotto gone bad).  This is a great recipe to make with a friend or spouse acting as your sous chef (chopping parsley, measuring salt and pepper and preparing the sage browned butter).

    You should have a little experience with making risotto before trying this recipe….aside from that, it’s pretty simple and quick.  One more note – when making browned butter, be sure to use a heavy bottom stainless steel pan.  It’s important that the heat stay consistent, and you’ll want to be able to see the progress of the change in the color as the butter browns. It may be helpful to have someone help by making the butter as you make the risotto (or vice versa). You’ll notice that I use walnut oil to saute the squash…the subtle nutty backnote it adds to the finished dish is delightful. Since I try not to have ingredients in my pantry that I only use for a couple of specific recipes, I also use walnut oil in salad dressing and drizzle it on cooked veggies.

    Acorn Squash Risotto with Sage Browned Butter
    Serves 4
    Approximate preparation/cooking time: 60 minutes

    For the risotto:

    1 32 ounce container organic low sodium vegetable broth
    1.5 cups water
    1 large fresh bay leaf (or 2 dried)
    2 TBSP walnut oil
    1.25pounds acorn squash, diced into 1″ cubes

    1 shallot, minced
    2 TBSP olive oil
    1.5 cups arborio rice
    1/2 cup dry white wine (chardonnay is a good choice)
    4 TBSP cold unsalted butter
    4 leaves of fresh sage
    1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
    1 Tsp. lemon zest
    3/4 tsp kosher salt
    1/2 tsp white or black pepper
    1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

    Heat the broth, water and bay leaf in a large saucepan.  Keep the pan on med-low heat.  Heat the walnut oil in a large dutch oven, add the squash and shallot and saute for a couple of minutes.  Add about 3/4 cup of the broth cover and simmer until squash is just tender (about 10 minutes).  Remove the squash from pan reserving about 1/2 cup for garnish.  Place the remaining squash in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth (add a little broth if needed).  Set a side.

    Return the pan to the stove.  Heat the olive oil over med heat.  Add the rice and saute for 2 minutes to allow the oil to coat the grains.  Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly until the wine is absorbed.  Now comes the fun….add the warm broth to the rice, a ladle full at a time (about 1/2-2/3 cup).  Stir the risotto after each addition, adding more broth every time the previous addition is nearly absorbed (about every minute or so).  Be sure to test for doneness starting at the 12 minute mark (risotto should take about 18 minutes or so to cook)….you are looking for aldente…a little firmness but no crunch.  Add the pureed squash at the 15-minute mark. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

    For the sage browned butter:  Add the unsalted butter to a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat over low heat.  Add the sage leaves and allow butter to brown.  Keep a close eye…once it begins to brown it will progress pretty quickly.  You are looking for a nice nutty brown color.  Remove from heat just before you achieve the desired color….it will continue to cook and brown in the pan.  Remove the sage, which should be crispy, and reserve for garnish. Add juice of 1/2 a lemon.

    This is the color you are looking for just before you want to remove it from the heat

    Serve in large bowls garnished with a few cubes of squash, a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds, crumbled crispy sage and a drizzle of the browned butter.

    © 2010 Nancy Granada Kindred Kitchen

    Acorn Squash Risotto with Sage Browned Butter

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    ingredients:

    1 32 ounce container organic low sodium vegetable broth
    1.5 cups water
    1 large fresh bay leaf (or 2 dried)
    2 TBSP walnut oil
    1.25pounds acorn squash, diced into 1″ cubes

    1 shallot, minced
    2 TBSP olive oil
    1.5 cups arborio rice
    1/2 cup dry white wine (chardonnay is a good choice)
    4 TBSP cold unsalted butter
    4 leaves of fresh sage
    1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
    1 Tsp. lemon zest
    3/4 tsp kosher salt
    1/2 tsp white or black pepper
    1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

    comments:

    2 responses to “Acorn Squash Risotto with Sage Browned Butter”

    1. Nancy, this looks outstandingly fabulously delicious!! I need to try this – I am so glad you posted a link for this on twitter! Best part: I have a lovely acorn squash at home that’s wanting to be part of this recipe =0)

    2. Nancy Granada says:

      @sockmonkeyskitchen: acorn is one of my favorites and is the perfect squash for this dish…I hope you like it! Let me know what you think! 🙂

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