As the days become chilly, my senses demand warmth. I want bread baking in my oven, down comforters on my bed, and carbohydrates – particularly the creamy, starchy, make-me-sleep-good-at-night kind of carbs. So what could be a more satisfying epicurean union then to combine the queen mother of all starches, risotto, with autumn’s iconic gourd, the Butternut Squash?
Luca Valerin and Robert Pantusa co-own Osteria Giotto, one of my favorite haunts, located at 21-23 Midland Avenue in Montclair. About two years ago (OMG! has it been that long?) Luca invited us into his kitchen and prepared his signature Butternut Squash Risotto. Luca’s Butternut Squash Risotto went to work on my olfactory senses before it even touched my tongue. And when it did, satisfaction was had.
Here’s what you’ll need to recreate Luca’s Butternut Squash Risotto:
1 pound of butternut squash
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of chopped white onion
1 cup of Arborio rice
1/3 cup of dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock, approximately
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 stick of butter
1 tablespoon of finely chopped parsley
Prepare the B’nut Squash, peel, cube and place in oven safe dish.
Sprinkle with sugar, salt and nutmeg, then drizzle with olive oil. Bake until softened.
Bring stock to a simmer.
In separate pot, sauté white onion in olive oil until almost translucent. Then add rice, toss and let toast for a few minutes. Add white wine.
After wine is absorbed, began to add stock to rice one ladle at a time, for about 18 minutes.
About nine minutes into the cooking, crush squash with a fork, and add to b’nut squash to rice.
Continue to add liquid. After 18 minutes, when the rice is tender, remove from heat and finish risotto by adding butter, Parmesan, parsley, and salt and pepper.
Plate, eat, enjoy!