Brrrr. It has been a chilly last few days in Boston. I am normally super antsy and always on the move, but this week I've been perfectly happy to be a homebody. This has involved numerous episodes of Bob's Burgers (if you haven't seen it, you're wasting your life) and copious amounts of comfort food, peaking with this elegant and hearty risotto.
Risotto can be a bit tricky the first time you make it as arborio rice is a needy grain that requires regular stirring. However once you've got one attempt under your belt, it becomes pretty easy. Who knows, it could even become your signature dish.
Italian Sausage, Butternut Squash and Walnut Risotto
Makes 6-8 servings
Prep & Cook: 1h15 min
2 cups Arborio rice
3 cups cubed butternut squash (about 1 squash, minus skin and seeds)
1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled into 1/2 inch chunks
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 cups chicken broth
1 cup grated havarti
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2-3 bunches of fresh sage
Salt & pepper
The best way to tackle this recipe is to get really organized. Therefore, I'm giving you the instructions in a list format. Read through it a few times before you start. Some of the steps will overlap, but generally this is how you will want to move through it for optimal risotto deliciousness and cook satisfaction.
1. Set the oven to 350°F.
2. Prep and measure out all of the ingredients.
3. Place the cubed butternut squash on a baking sheet and drizzle on 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Shake the squash around so that every piece is coated in olive oil and seasoning. Pop it in the oven a set a timer for 45 minutes. This could also be done a day or two ahead of time.
4. Add two tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter to a large, deep pan and melt on the stove at medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to become translucent.
5. While the onion is cooking, pour 8 cups of broth into a large stockpot and heat on high. Once the broth boils, reduce the heat to simmer and cover.
6. After the onion has cooked for 5 minutes, add the arborio rice and stir the mixture together. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the white wine. I used Gavi la Battistina and it was really lovely in the risotto and as well as nice cooking companion for me : ). Any dry white wine will do though.
7. Once the wine has cooked off, start adding simmering broth, one cup at a time. Stir the rice frequently to help the broth absorb. Once it has absorbed all of that liquid, add the next ladle and so on. This stirring and absorbing process will take about 25 minutes.
8. While you are dealing with that attention starved rice, get another pan on the stove on heat on medium / high. Add some of the sausage crumbles, so that there is space in-between the pieces. You don't want to crowd the pan, otherwise it won't brown. Give the sausage a shake after 5 minutes or so to cook the other side. Once the sausage has cooked through and achieved a nice browning, remove it from the heat and blot with a paper towel. Start the next batch. You should be able to cook the sausage and rice at the same time, but if it sounds too crazy, just cook the sausage ahead of time.
9. Once the rice has absorbed all of the broth, stir in the sausage, walnuts, havarti, and roasted squash (it should be done by now). Cut the sage leaves width wise into little strips. Add a few tablespoonfuls to the risotto, and use the rest to for garnish. Salt and pepper to taste.
Bring it winter, I'm ready for you.