One of the favorite dishes Emily and I have made since we started cooking together is risotto with butternut squash and leeks. We first made it last fall when Emily, desiring a slightly healthier Sunday night dinner, suggested using butternut squash. While looking for ideas for butternut squash dishes, I was drawn to this recipe due to my love of leeks and the comfort of risotto.
The first time we made it, the risotto turned out so great I couldn’t wait to make it again so when roommate Alex offered up her acorn squash from the Green Grocer for our Sunday dinner, I jumped at the chance to make this squash and leek risotto. Fortunately, acorn and butternut squash are essentially interchangeable though acorn squash is a bit more watery. Due to its shape, the acorn squash was also a bit more difficult to work with than the butternut squash but the effort was worth it. The risotto was just as tasty as the first time we made it. I really enjoyed how the roasted squash slightly melted into the risotto. The melted leeks added a richness to the risotto that was especially delightful.
Risotto with Winter Squash and Leeks (adapted from Bon Appetit)
2 pounds winter squash (such as butternut or acorn squash), peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups (about) chicken stock
3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place squash on large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast until tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.
Bring stock to simmer in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to very low; cover and keep stock warm.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in another heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leeks and sauté until soft but not brown, about 10 minutes.
Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until absorbed, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup hot stock; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time, allowing stock to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently, until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, about 25 minutes longer.
Add roasted squash, cream, Parmesan cheese and sage; stir until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.