Cooking risotto is on my bucket list because, to me, it always seemed like a real high-class type of dish. If you think about nurturing a cup of pasta for an hour, it must be something really special, right? That was my thinking! Proving the point further, for our 3rd anniversary we went to a popular restaurant, Portland City Grill, and what did I order from the fancy menu options? Risotto, of course!
It was absolutely, positively HEAVENLY. Definitely a top-notch meal. That’s when I logged the ingredients and flavors in my head (thanks for the good memory DNA, mom & dad) and decided to replicate it at home. My version was good enough to be served in our 777sf apt, on Target plates, with “silverware” and a paper towel napkin, yet it was far from competing to the original chef’s version.
A few weeks later, when I came home with a nice butternut squash from the farm, I knew I would have many options to use it. Half of it went into the Cozy Chicken & Vegetable Casserole recipe and the other I used for this second risotto attempt. This came out much creamier than I wanted, and I believe it was because I cooked the squash in a pan before putting it in the risotto. The result was the squash cooking down too much and with all the stirring, it started to get “mushy” and hence, became too creamy.
Normally I would always encourage a cook to have the confidence to try altering a recipe if you think it can be done differently or better, but when it comes to risotto, just follow the what the directions say. There’s no award when a risotto comes out mushy. However, you do get bragging rights when a risotto comes out perfect – to all your friends, family, and co-workers who will forever become impressed with your cooking abilities!!
So the next time you feel like sprucing up your cooking talents, print out this recipe, pick up a butternut squash, bottle of white wine, shallots and arborio rice. Then grab a stool and get ready for a nice hour of hanging over the stove. And remember: success will bring great rewards. Good luck!
- 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 cups chopped peeled butternut squash (into itty-bitty pieces)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese