Butternut Squash Risotto with Rosemary, Walnuts, and Blue Cheese

Susan from Food Blogga

Makes 4 servings.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 shallot, diced
1 cup butternut squash, roasted
2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or as much as needed)
½ cup Arborio rice
¼ cup half n' half or milk
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
1/8 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees; place walnuts on a baking sheet in oven for about 10 minutes, until slightly toasted and fragrant.

Bump up the heat to 400 degrees. Slice squash in half, remove seeds, and rub with a little olive oil; roast face-side down for 40-45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Once the squash is cooked, scoop out the flesh, and mash it by hand. It will be added to the cooked risotto later.

Meanwhile, heat broth in a saucepan over medium heat, then lower to a simmer.

For the risotto: In a large metal skillet, saute the shallots in olive oil and butter. Add the Arborio rice; toast for about 1 minute. Cook the risotto at a slow simmer, adding heated broth ½ cupful at a time. Stir occasionally, making sure the risotto absorbs the liquid before adding more; just be careful not to let the bottom burn. As it continues to absorb the liquid, it will become tender and creamy. Also, season with some salt as you go along.

I use 2-3 cups of broth for this recipe, but use more or less as needed. It usually takes about 20 minutes for the risotto to become completely cooked; but taste it. It should be wonderfully creamy and thick; it’s best al dente, which means it should still retain some firmness when you chew it. At this point, add the cooked squash, half n'half or milk, ½ the rosemary, and some salt & pepper; stir well.

Remove from heat; stir in Parmesan cheese now, as it will melt more slowly. Add some salt and pepper as needed. Most cookbooks suggest adding 1-2 Tbsp. butter at this point, but it’s optional (and a lot fewer calories without it). Plate your risotto, topping it with crumbled blue cheese, toasted walnuts, and the rest of the chopped fresh rosemary. Eat right away to enjoy its velvety goodness.