Autumn has officially arrived. The days seem just a little bit shorter, as they remain darker longer, and the air has taken a turn to a crisp nip. Heirloom pumpkins and cheerful mums have made way into our gardens and onto our front doorsteps. We are finding comfort in warm sweaters, seasonal soups, and apple crisps. In our household, we have switched out the 'everyday' milk glass that was used so often during the summertime and moved onto our cheerful pumpkin earthenware. This really seems to set the mood, and certainly spreads a little cheer.
As we tend to do, we visited the market this past weekend and loaded up on seasonal offerings for the week, such as butternut squash, pumpkin, pomegranate, and apple. A friend and I had compared notes recently, and we were brainstorming about various ways to integrate sage into our fall dishes. Top of mind, I envisioned a butternut squash paired with pasta and parmesan. I was certainly craving something hearty and warm. Much to my surprise, however, we still had a leftover box of risotto rice from summer cooking! (We had presented a 'birthday party in a box' for my daughter's ninth birthday, inviting friends and family members to zoom with us over a 'pretend cooking show'. All the ingredients needed to prepare this dish were in a box that had been delivered to their doors, and everyone followed along as my daughter prepared it. It was a fun way to 'be altogether' even while physically being miles apart.)
Once you know the basics of preparing risotto, the variations are absolutely limitless. Most of the ingredients are shelf-stable, as well, and so it is a wonderful dish to whip up on a whim. The bonus is that you can keep most of the items stocked in your pantry all fall and winter long. A few of our favorite variations to make are a truffled mushroom risotto, a tomato risotto, and now that it is fall, a butternut squash risotto. For special occasions, we like to keep a can of Urbani truffles on hand. Truffled mushrooms can be shaved onto the top for the ultimate gourmet experience.
Although risotto is hearty enough to serve as the main course, it can certainly be used as a side dish. We additionally found that the butternut squash in spaghetti form was a big hit with the children. We topped this with, you guessed it, Parmesan and sage.
A generous pour of white wine, specifically an Alsacean Riesling, or a Pinot Noir, would pair quite nicely with the butternut squash version.
To browse our entire fall collection, including both our pumpkin and turkey ceramics, as well as our vintage glassware collection, visit our online shop.
Serves 4--6 people
1 1/2 C Risotto Rice
32 oz. of Chicken Stock
2 Tbsp Chopped Onions (dried, a staple pantry item, or fresh)
2 C of Butter
1 1/4 C of Parmesan
Salt & Pepper
Variations of Risotto:
Ways to enhance the Risotto:
A Squeeze of Lemon
A Wooden Spoon
A Stockpot (to warm the broth)
A Stainless Steel Pan (or a thick bottom pot to cook the risotto)
4-6 Plates or Bowls
Butternut Squash Risotto:
1. Prepare the butternut squash.
- Wash the squash, peel the skin, and cut it into small cubes (otherwise known as brunoise).
- Reserve some larger cubes of squash for garnishing at the end.
- There is a great tutorial here on how to cut a squash without losing your fingertips, at the same time! https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/how-to-peel-seed-and-cut-butternut-squash/
2. Roast the squash.
- Heat a pan to medium heat and add half the butter (1 C).
- Wait until the butter is brown and then add the cubes of squash.
- Roast the squash until it is nicely colored.
- Add chopped onion to make it sweeter (optional).
3. Add the rice and simmer to a finish.
- Add the rice and stir it until it is coated with butter.
- Add one cup of white wine and cook it off.
- When dry, add the chicken stock and cover with 1/2 inch of liquid.
- Continue to stir the entire time it is cooking.
- Continue to add the chicken stock, as necessary, until the rice is fully cooked. (*It should maintain a wet and 'soupy' consistency and never get too dry.)
4. Finish with Parmesan and butter
- Once the rice is cooked, turn off the burner, and add both the Parmesan and the butter.
- Add the chopped sage.
- Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, as needed.
- Plate onto a flat plate (the traditional way to serve it) or into bowls, as we prefer.
- Add the reserved cubes of roasted butternut squash that were roasted separately with brown butter.
- Shave some Parmesan on top
- Serve while hot.
The floral in the first two photos were arranged by McArdle's Florist in Greenwich, CT.
The apple cake in the first photo is from By The Way Bakery in Greenwich, CT.
The Italian earthenware was designed by Backcountry Mercantile and handpainted by FIMA Deruta. All ceramicware pictured is available for sale in our online shop. https://www.backcountrymercantile.com/shop-1
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