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Fall risotto, the taste of Thanksgiving in one dish.

October 29, 2009

I was “mind tasting” some holiday flavors and wanted to create a new dish that captured the essence of the holiday in one bite. I love the mildly sweet flavor and texture of butternut squash. I thought about what might be a nice slightly bitter contrast to the sweetness and what spices could pull it all together and tie it to the holidays. The result is this roasted butternut squash and brussel sprout risotto.b squash brussel sprt risotto The squash is sweet, the brussel sprouts are slightly bitter, the sage butter is a natural partner to the squash and the allspice adds a depth of flavor and an undeniable holiday spice to the dish. One bite and your mouth is filled with the warm flavors of the holiday. Each bite builds on the layers of flavors but never overwhelms.

Roasted butternut squash risotto

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup butternut squash, 1/2″ cubes
1/2 cup brussel sprouts, finely sliced
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon sage leaves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/3 cup Arborio rice
1 each shallot
1 clove garlic clove
1/3 cup white wine
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
You will have three pans. One for the roasted veggies, one for the risotto and one with the simmering stock/water.

Chop sage and set aside.
In a medium size pot add your water and chicken broth and bring to just under a simmer.

In a medium sauté pan over medium heat add 1 TB of the olive oil. Once hot add the butternut squash and brussel sprouts. Stir occasional until evenly golden. Add the salt and sugar. Stir and cook one more minute. Add the butter, sage and allspice and stir. Cook one more minute and turn off heat. Set aside while you make the rice.

In a medium sauté pan over med-high heat add the other Tb of olive oil. Once hot add the rice, shallot and garlic. Stir continuously until the rice starts to look a touch clear on the edges, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and stir continuously until absorbed. Start adding a ladle full of the hot stock at a time. Stirring continuously until each ladle full is absorbed. After 5 ladles of stock has been absorbed start tasting the rice. You want it to be “al dente”. Continue adding stock and stirring. Make sure to keep the rice at a mild boil and stir continuously.

Once the rice is al dente add a touch more stock so that the rice moves side to side like a slow moving wave. Not solid but not saucy. Stir in the roasted veggies. Spoon onto plates and top with Parmesan cheese

Key flavor factors:
1. Good stock. Stock is most prominent flavor of a good risotto. Use homemade stock if you are motivated to do so or buy a quality one. LOW sodium for sure b/c risotto is a series of reductions. If you start with a salty stock you will have a way salty dish at the end.
2. Add the stock one ladle at a time to get even absorption and creamy textured rice.
3. Make sure the oil is hot before you drop the veggies in. Get a nice golden color on the veggies (color equals flavor).
4. Slice the brussel sprouts thin and cut the butternut squash in small cubes ½” so that they will cook quickly and you will still get good color before the squash gets too soft. By cooking them separately and stirring them in at the end you get great flavor and texture.
5. Taste the rice often towards the end so that you can see how the texture is changing. When it is just about “al dente” add one more ladle of stock and turn the heat off while it is still a touch saucy. The residual heat will allow the rice to finish absorbing the liquid so that by the time you plate and serve it will still be moist and not too thick.
Eat well, enjoy life, be happy.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2009 12:39 pm

    Looks delicious! Awesome combo of veggies (some of my faves!) and I can totally see the allspice really adding some warm depth to this dish! Risotto gives such a good comfort food feel in the Fall too 🙂

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      October 30, 2009 11:53 am

      Thank you, have a great weekend.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      November 2, 2009 3:37 pm

      Thank you Jenn! Enjoy 🙂

  2. Amanda permalink
    November 13, 2009 8:53 am

    What a great idea!! 🙂 Can’t wait to try.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      November 14, 2009 7:52 am

      thank you Amanda, let me know how it turns out 🙂

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