Squash Risotto with goat cheese

Since we have dozens and dozens of butternut and potimarron squash, I am scouring the web for recipes to use it up. To my delight, Gael Greene (food critic at Salon.com) recently dined at a favorite Manhattan restaurant (Salumeria Rosi ) that served a divine squash risotto, and wangled the recipe:) And here it is:

Risotto di Zucca

Serves 6 appetizers

Squash Puree
1 butternut squash: cut in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out with a spoon
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, fine dice
1 cup Italian rice (Carnaroli)
½ cup white wine
1 ½ quarts simmering, vegetable or chicken stock seasoned
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or aged gratable goat cheese
Squash puree, to taste
Honey to taste (if you like your risotto slightly sweet)

2 tbs. pumpkin seeds, toasted

Drizzle oil on cut side of squash and season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet cut side down and roast in 250 degree oven until flesh is like a puree and skin is wilted and charred, about one hour. Cool, scoop out flesh and reserve.

Place the olive oil and the onions in pan until softened but not colored, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and toast, stirring, until the rice smells toasted and is hot to the touch.  Add the wine and cook until evaporated.

Add simmering stock to cover the rice (about 2-3 cups), and squash puree (1 cup) Simmer, stirring constantly, until the stock has evaporated to the point that the rice appears on the surface. Add more squash (1 cup) and the  simmering stock  to cover the rice (about 1-2 cups) and continue cooking, stirring, until stock has evaporated. Add more stock and the remaining squash puree and cook slightly more if necessary; the total cooking time is about 12-14 minutes. Taste and if necessary season with salt.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese and continue to stir until the cheese has melted.  Taste for seasoning. Drizzle honey as needed. If squash is very sweet you will need little or none of the honey.

Garnish with grated cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately.


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