Ah, risotto. It’s one of my favorite comfort food dishes to make! I first learned how to make risotto from the one and only Lidia Bastianich at her east side flagship restaurant Felidia. Lidia taught me the importance of toasting the rice beforehand and how critical it is to have simmering chicken stock throughout the whole risotto-making process. She taught me to add the stock little by little until the rice is cooked to perfection.
One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to risotto is overcooked or mushy rice. No one wants a mushy mess on their hands. Unfortunately, too many restaurants serve risotto like this! The grains should always be somewhat chewy when you’re finished.
The hardest part about risotto is standing over the pot for 30 minutes and constantly stirring, but this labor of love is always worth the results. When risotto is done right, it’s glorious.
This is one of those dishes that’ll impress everyone. It’ll also fill your guests up if you’re having a dinner party on a budget!
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 shallots, diced
- 3 sprigs thyme, pulled from stem
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 6 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 tablespoon Parsley, chopped
- 2 kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle cubed squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast for 30 minutes or until caramelized.
- Heat chicken stock in a saucepan, cover, and bring to a simmer.
- Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add shallots and cook until translucent. Add risotto, mix to coat with butter, and cook for about 1 minute to lightly toast the rice.
- Add thyme and toss to coat. Deglaze with wine and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add two ladles of stock and keep stirring until the liquid evaporates. Add more stock and keep repeating the process until the rice is cooked through but still has a slight bite to it.
- Remove pot from heat and add in parm and squash. Garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy right away. 🙂
The butternut squash, thyme, shallots and Parmigiano Reggiano work so well together in this recipe. In my opinion, risotto always turns out better with vegetables. You can always adapt your risotto to what’s in season at the farmers market or to what’s convenient based on what you have going on in your fridge. I usually think meat is too heavy in this dish, but if you can come up with a recipe that works, I’d love to hear!
Aside from this festive fall edition, I absolutely LOVE wild mushroom or seafood risotto if you’re looking for other ideas or inspiration.
Like always, I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on this recipe. It’s one of those things that’ll taste even better the next day!