Maryland “Pumpkin” Risotto
4 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
4 Tbsp Butter (small cubes)
1 Medium Shallot or 1 Small Onion Chopped (roughly 1/2 cup)
1.5 C Arborio Rice
1/2 Dry White Wine
1/4 C Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 of Butternut Squash (Medium Size)
Kosher Salt (to taste)
Cinnamon (to taste)
Nutmeg (to taste)
Preheat the over to 375 degrees.
For butternut squash:
Cut the butternut squash in half. Place cut side up on a baking sheet in the oven, once it reaches temperature. Cook for 30 minutes or until the squash is tender throughout. Once cooked, remove the butternut squash from oven and let cool thoroughly. Once cooled, peel skin and remove seeds. Place in blender with a small amount of vegetable stock, blend on high to make a puree. Add salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to desired taste.
Heat vegetable stock to a simmer.
In large, heavy-bottom sauce pan, heat oil and 1 Tbsp of butter. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallots (or onion) and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the shallot/onion is slightly translucent. Add Arborio rice to the pot and stir briskly with a wooden spoon so that the grains are coated evenly with the oil and melted butter. Sautée for approximately one minute until you hear the rice sing.
Do we really mean sing? Yes! When the Arborio Rice begins to cook, you will hear a noise — now, your rice is singing!
Add white wine. In Italy, the saying is “rice is born in water but dies in wine” so don’t be shy when you’re adding it.
Cook, while stirring constantly, until the liquid is fully absorbed.
Add a ladle of hot vegetable stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed.
Add butternut squash puree.
Add an additional ladle of stock and, when the mixture is almost dry, add another ladle of stock.
Continue adding stock, one ladle at a time, for approximately 15 minutes until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite (al dente).
Remove from heat. Add remaining butter and Parmigiano Reggiano. Let rest for 1 minute.
Stir it like you mean it.
Plate as desired.
Tips for great risotto:
1. Stir Constantly. This helps prevent scorching or burning of the risotto and ensures that it cooks evenly.
2. Consistency is key with risotto. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked (tender but still firm — al dente!), that’s okay! You can add hot water to finish the cooking process or to ensure the creamy texture that risotto is known for.