We’ve done it again. We’re singing “My Blue Hubbard” yet another season. Last year, we acquired a giant Blue Hubbard squash around Halloween and were eating it through March. We saved the seeds and planted them and now we have a fleet of pale gray dirigibles in stacks everywhere. Of course we’ve been giving them away to people who resist admitting they’re intimidated by volume. And we’ve been concocting brave new ways to use the delicious and nutritious golden flesh so that we don’t get bored. Luckily, winter squash accepts a variety of spice-ways.
On the weekend, after removing the seeds and central fibers, I carve a squash or two into large chunks and roast them, scooping out the cooked flesh to use in dishes throughout the week. Winter squash makes a lovely and comforting risotto. Garnished with roasted mushrooms and roasted cubed squash, it’s a satisfying meal for the dark days of impending winter. I like to make extra and fry it in little cakes the following day.
Winter Squash Risotto with Sage (for 3 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish)
1 small onion, finely chopped
Butter (or olive oil)
¾ c Arborio rice
3-4 sage leaves
¼ c white wine
¾ -1 c squash puree
3-4 c chicken or turkey stock, warmed
Salt and pepper
¼ c grated Parmesan cheese or other flavorful hard cheese
Lightly sauté the onion in a little butter until soft. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains. Add the sage leaves.
Add the white wine and cook over medium heat until the wine has been absorbed (or evaporated). Start adding the stock, about ¼ c at a time, regulating the heat to keep the liquid at a simmer. Keep stirring and adding additional ¼ c of stock as the liquid is absorbed. The entire risotto should take about 20 minutes to cook. About half way through, start adding the pureed squash with the stock. When the risotto is just finished, adjust the seasonings and add the grated cheese. Serve immediately.
Potential garnishes: sage leaves browned in butter, parsley or other herbs, sautéed leaves of Brussels sprouts or other greens, sautéed mushrooms, cubes of roasted squash….