Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

serves 4

1 small butternut squash (you will probably use just one half)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup arborio or carnaroli rice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup white wine
4-6 cups chicken stock, warmed on the stove in a pot
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Peel squash with vegetable peeler.  Trim ends.  Cut squash in half, vertically.  (You can save one half for another use - roast it and serve it with dinner tomorrow).   Scoop out seeds.  Cut squash into 1 inch cubes and place on foil lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees until tender, about  25 minutes.  Test with a fork.  You want nice crispy carmelized pieces - do not be afraid to roast the squash a little longer.

Meanwhile, start risotto. In a medium size pot, (I use a Chef's pan with sloping sides, it makes stirring the risotto easier) add 2 tablespoons olive oil and chopped onion.  Saute onion until a little soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute.  Add rice and toast the rice, stirring for about 2-3 minutes.  Add herbs and stir.

Add wine and let simmer for a couple of minutes.  Start adding stock with a ladle, just a couple of ladles at a time.  Stir the risotto, leave uncovered at a simmer. When the stock has almost completely evaporated, add a couple more ladles, stir.  Continue this until risotto is creamy, about 25 minutes.  Turn off heat and add cheese and roasted squash.

The Italian Dish
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