Butternut Squash Risotto – A Meal for my Mother

I love to visit my parents and cook them a great meal! And what better excuse than Mother’s Day? How about your mom’s birthday? My mom’s happens to always fall on or around Mother’s Day.

I always ask her what she wants me to cook for her, she always tells me to surprise her. This year, we are driving down and going to see her opera before dinner, so the dishes I prepared must be able to be prepped or cooked ahead of time and stay fresh.

Risottos are some of my favorite meals and I make them regularly with seasonal flavors. I love to make Chanterelle Risotto in the summer, when my mom brings me chanterelles she picked in Maine, or Brussels Sprout and Brown Butter Risotto in the winter when they are available at the market.

I figured I would decide which Risotto to make based on what I see in the market. A bit out of season, maybe, but I found a beautiful large butternut squash, so I decided to go with Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto for our dinner thinking it would go well with Chili Shrimp!

I have been reading about homemade stocks and figured I would save the peels from the Squash to add to mine. It was delicious, and I have some left over for another soup or veggie dish! If you are short on time, buy 8-9 cups of veggie stock instead.

We served this meal with Chili Shrimp and Homemade Caesar Salad, and a Victoria Sandwich Cake for dessert!

Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage and Parmesan

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1 large butternut Squash, about 3-4 lb, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch squares, peels reserved, seeds discarded
3 large onions, half finely diced, half roughly chopped
4 sticks celery, roughly chopped
3 carrots, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 tsp peppercorns
3 bay leaves
2 stems fresh rosemary
6 tbsp butter
2 2/3 cup Arborio rice
12 sage leaves, roughly chopped
1 1/2 glass dry vermouth
1 cup grated Parmesan

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Arrange Squash pieces on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil to cover and season with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands to spread oil and seasoning.
  3. Bake 20-30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, combine peels from the squash, carrot, celery, coarsly chopped onion, peppercorns, bay leaf, rosemary stems, and 13 cups of water.
  5. Bring to a boil on low heat, once boiling, allow to cook for 5 minutes, then turn off heat. Rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Strain out and discard all but broth.
  7. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp butter. Sauté finely chopped onion for 10-15 minutes on low heat so it becomes translucent but not browned.
  8. Add rice and cook for 2 minutes, covering all of the grains in rice.
  9. Add vermouth and let it steam for a minute. Revel in the delicious scent perhaps?
  10. Stir in sage half of sage.
  11. Add stock 1 cup at a time and stir constantly until creamy, but the rice still has a bit of a bite. I generally use around 8-9 cups of broth. Once it tastes al denote (about 15 minutes) you are done.
  12. Remove from heat and add in squash, remaining sage, cheese, and remaining 4 tbsp butter.
  13. Season with salt and pepper. Leave to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
  14. If traveling with Risotto, allow to cool and slowly warm up on the stone top before serving.

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Total cooking time: 1 hour, serves 8-12

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