Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Butternut Squash Risotto with Rosemary and Blue Cheese

Rosemary Blue Cheese Butternut Squash Risotto. That is a mouthful! (But a really tasty mouthful, believe me!) And I wish that this photo did the dish justice. But risotto isn't necessarily pretty. It's a stick-to-your-ribs, warm and filling dish of goodness. And the best part is that it can be adapted in so many ways.

My Nonna used to make the BEST risotto. It was my favorite food growing up (that, and pesto of course). It was a tomato-y risotto, beautifully red, and I remember her spending so long standing over the pot stirring the rice so it wouldn't burn. It always seemed so hard to make. When I first started cooking a lot, I asked my mom for Nonna's "secret" recipe and not only was it not hard to make...she used RAGU!!! Go figure, right? Well, I really should have known with my Nonna who added the white foam from pasta water to her pesto sauce because it made it "taste better." Since finding out that my favorite food was made with Ragu, I've been on a mission to create a really perfect risotto. And this one, dear readers, is pretty darn tasty.

It is so creamy while using only a little bit of cream. It is packed with flavor from fresh rosemary and blue cheese. And the squash cooks so nicely in the rice so that each bite is soft and warm and wonderful.

Rosemary Blue Cheese Butternut Squash Risotto
adapted from RecipeGirl
  • 7 c. chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1¼ c. chopped onion
  • 2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 c. Arborio rice (risotto)
  • ½ cup dry white wine (i used sauvignon blanc - thanks Rachel!)
  • 4 c. (packed) baby spinach leaves
  • ½ c. whipping cream
  • 1/3 c. crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 small cooked chicken breasts, cut into small pieces (if desired)
  1. Bring 7 cups of broth to boil in a large saucepan. Cover and reduce heat to low.
  2. Melt butter in large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add squash and 1½ tsp. rosemary; sauté 4 minutes to coat with butter.
  3. Add rice and stir 2 minutes. Add wine and simmer until evaporated, about 1 minute.
  4. Add 3 cups of hot broth, bring to boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered (stirring often!) until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy and slightly soupy, adding more broth by 1/2 cupfuls as needed to maintain consistency, about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in spinach and cream.
  7. Transfer risotto to large bowl. Sprinkle with blue cheese and remaining ½ tsp. rosemary and serve. (also, if using chicken breast, add now)
Maybe one day when I'm feeling nostalgic (and lazy) I'll make Nonna's risotto using Ragu...but until then, I'm full and happy from my creamy butternut squash risotto!

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