The weather is the getting much colder, which means it’s time to enjoy comfort food and fall veggies. I have been wanting risotto for the past few weeks and was so happy I found time to make it. The beauty of risotto is that your patience with the preparation always pays off into a gorgeous, comforting dish. It is also a really versatile base for veggies and protein, and adapts well to different flavor combos. One of my favorites is butternut squash, and I found this specific recipe on Epicurious. It combines butternut squash, leeks, basil & thyme, and Parmesan cheese for a perfect fall dinner. The key to this recipe is continuously seasoning the dish as you go. I added salt and crushed red pepper with almost every addition of chicken stock to make sure that it would be perfectly flavored by the time the rice was fully cooked. If you have the time, this dish is worth every minute. It’s perfect for a cold fall night and a big glass of red wine.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled butternut squash (from 21/4 pounds squash)
- 3 cups 1/2-inch-wide slices leeks (white and pale green parts only)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (I didn’t have any, so I put in dried thyme)
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 4 14-ounce cans (or more) vegetable broth
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional (for serving)
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add squash and sauté until beginning to soften and brown around edges, about 5 minutes. Transfer squash to medium bowl.
- Reduce heat to medium; add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, leeks, and thyme to same pot and stir until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add 1 cup broth and simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining broth by 1/2 cupfuls, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Return squash to pot. Continue to cook until rice is just tender but still very creamy, stirring gently and often, about 10 minutes longer (about 25 minutes total cooking time). Remove from heat. Stir in basil and 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to large bowl and serve with additional Parmesan cheese.