sage & butternut squash risotto

butternut squashcutting off the endsbeautiful squashDSC_0296.JPG

many years ago, my mom gave us a cookbook entitled the one-dish vegetarian: 100 recipes for quick and easy vegetarian meals, by maria robbins. when we were first gifted the book, it was the beginning of our get-fit-2003 campaign, and mike and i poured over every recipe in an effort to discover delicious, healthy, and quick recipes that would accommodate our new lifestyle of exercising daily and eating smaller and healthier portions of food. the title of the book is almost exactly what you get—super fast and easy meals that can be served in one dish (although it often takes more than one dish to make them, which made me feel a little duped—i was looking forward to less dishes to wash!). we dog-eared the pages of the recipes we wanted to make and found several keepers, ones that became part of our regular repertoire. years passed, more cookbooks were purchased, and this one began to gather some dust on our cookbook shelf.

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flash forward to this fall, when i finally put my beloved eat, drink, and be vegan cookbook on the shelf (after making almost every recipe) instead of leaving it on the kitchen counter. my hands brushed the cover of the one-dish vegetarian, and i pulled it off the shelf to reminisce about the great recipes that kicked off our culinary renaissance 5 years ago. i noticed that many of the pages were still dog-eared, and i was surprised to notice that we had barely scratched the surface of the 100 recipes in the book. excited by the discovery of new recipes in an old cookbook, i spent some time reviewing the recipes before deciding to make butternut squash risotto.

risotto

risotto is a dish that i had never been exposed to until we lived with the amazing k & b, who made risotto often and filled our house with its delicious aroma. i used to drool over the smell when they made it, but when mike and i tried to make a pesto-butternut squash-risotto from vegetarian times, we were left feeling unsatisfied. the arborio rice was a little crunchy, the butternut squash was too hard, and the pesto in the recipe stuck to the bottom of the pan.

hot broth, risotto, butternut squash

when i saw the sage and butternut squash recipe in the one-dish vegetarian, i knew it was time to try risotto again. this time, the directions were clearer. there was an explanation of the method behind making risotto, and the squash was roasted before being added to the risotto. my mouth watered at the potential of this dish.

ready for the squash to go inone last stir

this dish definitely did not disappoint – it was/is absolutely amazing, in fact. the sage is added at three different times, yielding three distinct flavors out of just one herb, and the squash is roasted to perfection. the arborio rice was creamy, and the parmesan was rich without being too overpowering. this has become my favorite comfort food this winter, and i’m certain that it has nothing to do with the need to open a bottle of wine to make the dish. enjoy!

ready to eat!

sage and butternut squash risotto

adapted from the one-dish vegetarian: 100 recipes for quick and easy vegetarian meals, by maria robbins
yields 6 servings
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
  • 1T olive oil
  • 24 sage leaves (12 whole, 6 finely chopped, 6 roughly torn)
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1/4t pepper
  • 7c vegetable broth
  • 2T butter
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2c arborio rice
  • 1c white wine (don’t use anything you wouldn’t drink)
  • 1/2c parmesan cheese
  • 1T butter
    __________________________________________________
  1. preheat the oven to 350º (this step can be done either before you make the risotto or during the risotto prep, as the squash doesn’t get added until the very end)
  2. on a large baking sheet, toss the butternut squash with the olive oil, 12 whole sage leaves, salt and pepper
  3. roast for 15-20 minutes, turning the squash occasionally, until the squash is tender
  4. in a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil, then lower the heat – you want to keep the broth just under a simmer for the entire cooking time
  5. in a large dutch oven or at least 4 quart saucepan, heat 2T butter and 1T olive oil over medium heat
  6. add the onion and 6 finely shredded sage leaves and saute for 2 minutes
  7. add the arborio rice and saute 2 minutes more, stirring constantly until the rice is partly translucent
  8. pour in the wine and stir until completely absorbed
  9. add 1c hot broth, stirring frequently until the water is absorbed
  10. from here on out, add the hot broth 1/2c at a time, adding more when the last dose has absorbed, and stirring frequently – this is a dish that needs to be taken care of!
  11. after about 20 minutes of adding broth, add the butternut squash and sage that was roasted in the oven
  12. continue adding broth and stirring until the arborio rice is both al dente and creamy, about 5-10 minutes
  13. once you’ve reached this point, add 1/4c hot broth, turn off the heat, and stir in the parmesan cheese, 1T butter, and remaining 6 roughly torn sage leaves
  14. serve the risotto as soon as possible, seasoning with salt and pepper if needed

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