It was well in the negatives this week here in Midway, UT. Someone come save me! I'm only kinda kidding. I took the above picture looking out my back door...doesn't it look bitter cold? After taking my little Lily to dance on Tuesday we were both freezing and were having a hard time warming up, so I made a steamy creamy risotto that was just right for this weather and my mood. Mood, you ask? Well, I recommend you make this when you are "in the mood" to cook. If you're having a busy day and the last thing you want to do is cook, let alone think of something to cook- don't make this. Risotto takes some patience and I've found that if I'm rushed or flustered it never seems to turn out right.
Recipe (yield 6 entree servings):
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium size butternut squash, cubed into bite size pieces
2 leeks, finely chopped (white and light green parts only, refer to picture below)
2 teaspoons thyme (I used dried)
2 cups arborio rice (it has to be arborio)
2 32 oz cartons Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + more for garnish
In a large pot, add 2 tablespoons of your olive oil. Turn heat on to medium-high. Add squash when pot and oil are heated. Saute squash until it begins to soften and become brown around the edges, about 10 minutes.
Transfer squash to a medium bowl (we will finish cooking it later on). Set aside. Place your large pot back on the burner and adjust the heat to medium. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add leeks and thyme. Stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Be careful to not let the leek get too brown. Add your 2 cups of arborio rice and stir around for one minute. Add 1 cup chicken stock and allow to simmer until all the stock is absorbed, stirring frequently. This should take 3-4 minutes.
Add remaining stock by 1/2 cupfuls, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next, stirring frequently. All in all, this should take you about 20 minutes from the first addition of stock to the last (keep in mind that you may not need to use all the stock). Return butternut squash to pot.
Continue to cook and gently stir until the rice is just tender but still very creamy, about 10 minutes longer. When the risotto is done, remove from heat and stir in grated parmesan.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. It'll definitely need some pepper, but the salt is up to you-- the risotto already has a lot of salt from the parmesan cheese and the chicken stock. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with extra grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Refrigerate leftovers, but keep in mind that the risotto when reheated will not have the same texture when done so.
images by Briana