I love butternut squash and I look for ways to incorporate them in my food preparation. When I came across the risotto recipe in Giada’s book, Giada’s Kitchen, I was intrigued by the addition of vanilla bean and really wanted to try it. I added the recipe to my recent shopping list and thought it’s the perfect autumn dish to make for my family.
Since risotto is one of those dishes that needs time and patience to prepare, I saved the dish for Sunday lunch. I was out of vegetable stock, so instead I decided to make my own. It was quite simple, but a little time consuming. However, I don’t think homemade vegetable stock is going to make or break this dish… store bought will be fine as well.
Finally after hours of waiting for my vegetable stock to simmer, I was ready to start preparing the risotto. I followed the recipe pretty close, but realized that I needed more broth than what was called out on the recipe. I think it all depends on the size of the squash and how much water it takes up… and after stirring and simmering the rice in broth for many repeated cycles, I was ready to serve the risotto to my family. The kids and I enjoyed having our risotto. .. My husband thought it was a good side dish… sadly he’s not much of a vegetarian.
I personally loved how comforting the flavors were. I enjoyed the hint of vanilla bean … it did not overpower the dish at all… and the butternut squash just made everything better. I felt like I was celebrating Autumn!
Recipe adapted from Griada De Laurentiis
- 4-6 cups vegetable broth (see below for the recipe I used)
- 1 large vanilla bean
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
- 3/4 cups finely chopped onion
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
In a medium saucepan, warm the broth over medium-high heat. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and add them, and the bean, to the broth. When the broth comes to a simmer reduce the heat to low.
Add the butternut squash to the simmering broth and cook until tender, about 5 minutes or longer if not cooked. Using a slotted spoon remove the butternut squash to a side dish. Turn the heat on the broth down to very low and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to of the broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Discard the vanilla bean. Turn off the heat. Gently stir in the butternut squash, parmesan, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately since risotto can be real tricky if not served right away.
Roasted Vegetable Stock
Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman’s book How to Cook Everything.
I followed the recipe for the roasted vegetable stock from Mark Bittman’s blog.
Time: About 2 hours
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 trimmed and well-washed leeks, cut in chunks (or 2 large unpeeled onions, quartered)
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
- 2 celery stalks, trimmed and cut in chunks
- 2 potatoes, washed and quartered
- 6 cloves garlic
- 4 medium white mushrooms, trimmed and halved
- 10 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 10 peppercorn
- 1/2 cup white wine
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine oil, leeks, carrots, celery, parsnip, potatoes, garlic and mushrooms in a large roasting pan; stir to coat vegetables with oil. Roast, shaking pan occasionally and turning ingredients once or twice, until everything is nicely browned, about 45 minutes.
2. Use a slotted spoon to scoop all ingredients into a stockpot; add all remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper) and 8 cups water. Turn heat to high. Meanwhile, put roasting pan over a burner set to high, and add 2 to 4 cups water, depending on depth of pan. Bring it to a boil, and cook, scraping off all bits of food on bottom. Pour this mixture into stockpot (along with 2 more cups of water if you used only 2 cups for deglazing).
3. Bring stockpot to a boil. Partly cover, and adjust heat so mixture sends up a few bubbles at a time. Cook until vegetables are very soft, 30 to 45 minutes. Strain, pressing on vegetables to force out as much juice as possible. Taste, and add more , salt or pepper if necessary. Store or serve.
Yield: About 12 cups.