A warming bowl of butternut squash risotto is just what a cold late fall day calls for.
This butternut squash risotto starts off with crispy, fried sage. I use the fragrant oil that the sage fried in to cook the rest of the risotto. The base of the risotto includes plenty of sweet, onions and butternut squash, of course.
I’m sure this comes with no surprise, but this recipe is inspired by a butternut squash risotto we make at work. Instead of garnishing with gremolata (which is also very delicious), I decided to go with the fried sage.
The most important tip I got from work is the method of cooking the risotto. I read so many recipes and watched just as many videos on how to make risotto. One good thing about working for an Italian chef, is it helped me realize there’s another way to make risotto. My new favorite way.
Instead of constantly adding stock and stirring the rice throughout the whole process, I added stock in slightly larger increments and saved most of the stirring for the end. Well, that’s a bit of an understatement. Once the rice is cooked properly, I added in the butter, cheese and a bit more stock and shook the pot while stirring vigorously. You have to put in a little muscle at the end until the rice is bound and super creamy. Whether you make butternut squash risotto, mushroom, seafood or any other variety you like, I hope you try out this tried and true method.
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp butter, divided
- 20-25 small sage leaves
- ½ medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 heaping cup butternut squash, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 cup arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or as needed
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Warm oil over medium heat in a small pan. Fry sage about 30-45 seconds, or until crispy, turning half way through. Cook in batches to avoid over-crowding pan. Drain on paper towels. Season with salt.
- Add stock to a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to low and cover until ready to use.
- Transfer “sage” oil to a medium-sized pot. Warm over medium heat, add onions and season with salt. Sauté about 10-15 minutes or until softened and beginning to lightly caramelize. Lower heat to medium-low, when needed, to avoid over-browning.
- Add 2 tablespoons of butter, followed by the squash. Season with salt. Sauté about 10-12 minutes, or until somewhat tender, but not fully cooked through. Control heat to avoid browning.
- Add rice and toast about 3-4 minutes.
- Pour in wine and boil until reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Bring stock back up to a gentle simmer.
- Add in a couple ladlefuls of stock or enough to just cover the rice.
- Stir every 5-6 minutes, adding additional stock as needed. Cook for a total of 14-18 minutes or until tender with a slight bite.
- Off the heat, add cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir vigorously while quickly rotating the pan in a circular motion. Add additional stock as needed and continue to stir until mixture is creamy and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed. Transfer to serving dishes and garnish with fried sage. Enjoy.