Arborio rice, a pearly white, round, Italian grain of white rice is used for risotto. For any risotto, I recommend using only Arborio rice imported from Italy (you can find this in your grocery store). What differentiates this rice from other white grain rice is the starches released from the rice while preparing the risotto, which gives the dish it's distinct creamy texture.
For this dish, I used my Sicilian influence to bring together butternut squash and sage for this warm and comforting dinner.
1 cup Arborio rice
6 cups good quality chicken stock
2 c butternut squash, diced into 1/4 in pieces
1 small onion, diced fine
1/2 c white wine
1/4 c olive oil
8 tbsp butter
1 tbsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
10 sage leaves
In a large, heavy bottom pan, heat the olive oil over med-high heat. Add onion and squash and salt and saute for about 7-10 minutes or until the squash is softened and the onion is translucent.
Meanwhile, heat the stock with 5 sage leaves added until warm. (The key to keeping the risotto cooking is to ensure your stock is warm so you maintain the temperature as you add the liquid to the pan.) In another small pan, heat 4tbsp butter over med-low heat and fry the remaining sage leaves until crisp (be careful not to burn) and remove to a paper towel for garnishing.
To the squash and onion mixture, add the Arborio rice and stir for about 2-3 minutes making sure all the rice is coated with the olive oil. Add the 1/2 c of wine and stir continually until the wine has been absorbed. Add the stock, one ladle at a time, waiting for the liquid to be absorbed before you add more. Stir continually (you might want to pull up a chair or pour a glass of wine) adding stock, until the rice is creamy and al dente, about 20 minutes. Stir in 4tbsp butter and Parmesan, nutmeg and top with the crispy sage and serve immediately.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Posted by Meghan at 6:49 AM