Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto!

It's been raining like cats and dogs these days and while its much needed rain, it does make for some gloomy, uneventful days stuck at home. Though I shouldn't be complaining too loudly since other folks have to drive in that crazy stuff to get to and from work, be safe out there! The big storms did some damage... including this one ...  I'm sadden that I will not be able to see it in all its glory. Its a good thing we're getting a break from the rain.  

As for me, the first and only sunny day we got last week, the caveman and I took the doggies and ventured into Monterey for some much needed outing time! After our stroll, we headed straight for one of our favs: Alvarado Street Brewery & Grill . **For the longest time we never realized it was on the actual street Alvarado even though we park there ALL THE TIME and the name couldn't be any more obvious! Anyways, we ordered a flatbread in which they accidentally sent us the wrong one and because we were too busy devouring shamelessly, we didn't even realize it wasn't what we ordered but because we already ate the wrong one, we ended up with 2...  we're such pigs :P and we also had risotto - the inspiration for this recipe because it was so very delicious!  

It's been a while since I've made risotto, the last time I remembered it being a pain but that was years ago and I'm a little bit more well versed in the kitchen now. I know the traditional risotto calls for arborio rice, but technically most rices will work. Depending on my mood, sometimes I'm fine with doing away with the traditional and go with whichever way is the fastest, most convenient, and practical. Okay, I'm too lazy and its too wet for me to go to the store, whatever... so here's what I did: I used Calrose rice and I didn't bother pre-simmering the broth (as most recipes suggests), I poured it straight out of the can.  At the end of the day, the world did not end and I think it came out better than my previous round of risotto :). The Parmesan cheese probably helped too.

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
adapted from COOKIE+kate
  • 2 medium sized shallots, about 1 cup, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth (*or 4 cups for vegetarian )
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (**because I only had 1 can of vegetable broth...)
  • 1 whole butternut squash, about 2 lbs, cubed (**I bought mine at Costco, pre-cubed)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (or the shredded stuff works too, it all melts)
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth (or dry white wine)
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 1 1/2 cup of rice (**arborio rice or any short grain will work, I had Calrose)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili pepper flakes (optional)  
  • 2-3 tbsp of dried (or fresh) sage
  • olive oil
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  1. Roast butternut squash: in a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, lightly coat butternut squash with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Bake in oven for about 50-60 minutes at 375F (until tender and caramelized). Flip/check halfway for better results.
  2. In a separate pan: heat olive oil (1-2 tbsp) and add in garlic and shallots, lightly sauté for 30 seconds. Add in rice and cook for about 3-4 minutes more or until it’s slightly translucent. 
  3. Add in dry vermouth, stirring every once in a while until all the liquid has been absorbed. Then start adding in the chicken & veggie stock one cup at a time and each time stirring and waiting until the liquid is fully absorbed before adding in the next cup, do this for 3 cups. Rice should start to look tender by the end of the 3rd cup, add more broth if rice is still very hard.
  4. Along with the final cup of broth also add in butternut squash, Parmesan, butter, and spices. Stir vigorously to give everything a good mix. Cook until broth is fully absorbed and risotto is thick and creamy.