Fall Butternut Squash Risotto

(Serves 2-3)

1 small butternut squash
1 bunch green onions
3-4 shiitake mushrooms
Cupful grated asiago cheese
1 cup arborio rice
2-3 cups chicken stock
2 cups half and half (optional)
Smoked chicken (optional)

Preparation:

  • Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds with rounded tablespoon and lightly rub skin with oil (to keep moist during baking). Place cut side down on flat tray lined with aluminum foil (saves clean up time). Cook in 350║ oven about 30-40 minutes. Cool and remove skin. Chop into 1/3" cubes and set aside. (The squash should be just hard enough to retain their cube shape when cut. If you overcook and it has become mushy, don't try to cut it into cubes, just use it in small chunks which will blend out when you mix it with the rice.)
  • Cook the rice in risotto style using chicken stock as liquid.

Butternut squash after roasting.

To Serve:

When rice is done, add cubed squash, reduced cream (optional), cooked mushrooms and chopped green onions. Heat over low flame until green onions wilt. Just before serving, stir in the grated cheese. Arrange the risotto mixture in a large, warm bouillabaisse bowl and top with shredded pieces of smoked chicken (optional).

Notes:

  • Shiitake Mushrooms: If you're not using shiitakes as a flavor sparkler, then add a few zests of orange peel. The orange zest brings out the sweetness of the butternut. But use it with a light hand. It's easy to overpower the delicate sweetness of the butternut.
  • Smoked Chicken: This is a warm and friendly fall dish without the smoked chicken, but the addition of smoked chicken makes it a real fall treat!

Butternut Squash Risotto with Smoked Chicken.
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