1 small butternut squash
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
3 to 4 cups good-quality chicken stock
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
Note -- Read before making:
This is a classic Italian rice specialty. Key to this dish is the rice, chicken stock, cheese and cooking method.
Use a short-grain rice such as arborio, plus quality chicken stock -- either homemade or from a good-quality chicken stock reduction or demi-glaze.
Use Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated. You can buy this at Italian markets, finer markets and grocery stores.
While cooking the rice, add the stock 1/2-cup at a time, stirring continually and allowing the stock to absorb into the rice before adding the next 1/2-cup of stock.
1. Heat oven to 450°. Halve squash lengthwise and discard seeds.
2. Add a little vegetable oil to a shallow baking pan; place squash flesh side down in pan.
3. Bake in middle of oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until it can be handled.
4. Using a paring knife, score the squash into cubes, then scoop out the cubes with a spoon (make sure you don't get the skin).
1. Melt butter in a large skillet; add onions and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until the onion is translucent.
2. Add rice and coat well with butter.
3. Add 1/2 cup stock and stir constantly, letting it slowly absorb into the rice. Add another 1/2 cup of stock at a time and repeat as before. Continue adding stock until the risotto is creamy and the rice is firm but not chewy.
4. Stir in the squash, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, salt, pepper and cumin until everything is heated through.
5. Remove from heat and serve with extra cheese at the table.
Yield: 4 servings