Tuesday January 22, 2008
spicy winter risotto
"I love making risottos! This one is great for this time of year and my favorite. Serve with a nice wine--I've been into Argentinian Malbec the past two winters--yummy!
1 butternut squash approx 2 pounds...or make life easier and buy from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods the packaged, already cubed squash.
5 tablespoons olive oil
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
Fresh rosemary and sage
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Toasted pine nuts and fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and seed squash and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Place cubes on large cookie sheet. Using your hands, toss with 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper. Roast until tender and just brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Meanwhile, in medium skillet on low heat, cook sausage until brown on all sides. Remove from skillet, cool and slice into 1/4 inch coins.
In stockpot or large saute pan on medium heat, saute 3 tablespoons olive oil with onion, garlic, rosemary and sage for about 10 minutes (do not brown). In a separate stockpot, heat the chicken broth to just under a simmer (do not boil).
Once the onion is translucent, add the Arborio rice to the onion and oil and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it evaporates. Add the stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition, until the stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock and stirring frequently for a total of 25-30 minutes or until the rice is tender and the rice takes on a creamy texture (you might not use all the stock).
At about 20 minutes, you should begin to taste the risotto. It should be soft and creamy, but each grain should have a chewiness in the center. Once the risotto reaches this stage, stop adding the stock and turn off the heat. Add the butter, cheese, roasted squash and sausage. Mix well, cover and let sit for 2 minutes. To serve, ladle into deep soup plates and top with toasted pine nuts and parsley to garnish. Serves 6 to 8.