I’ve gotta tell you… I’m just not a risotto kinda gal. Never have been. Most risottos suffer from the same two problems (assuming they are cooked properly) 1. They are made of rice – not my favourite, and 2. Taking bite after bite of the same flavour/same texture for the entire meal is so boring – also not my favourite. But this particular risotto is quite good. I think the addition of some delicious sautéed garlic & swisschard made all the difference for me. I found my inspiration from this blog and would definitely make this recipe again.
Butternut Squash Risotto with Sautéed SwissChard & Garlic
1 medium-sized butternut squash
1 white onion, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
3 Tbsp butter
3 oz goat cheese, I used boursin
2 cups arborio rice
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 bunch swisschard, about 6-8 large stalks, washed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 oz goat cheese, I used boursin
2 Tbsp olive oil
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
dash lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 450F. Split your squash down the middle, and drizzle it with just a bit of olive oil. Salt and pepper it liberally, and place the squash, cut sides up, onto a baking sheet. Bake the squash for about 45 minutes, or until it is totally tender when pierced with a fork.
Place a medium saucepan on a back burner, and fill it with the 2 cups water and 4 cups vegetable broth. Bring it to a simmer over medium heat, and then turn the heat to low – you just want to warm it up and hold it at a very warm temperature.
Remove the stalks from the chard leaves. Split the leaves down the middle and then slice into one inch chunks.
When the squash is tender, remove it from the oven, scoop out the seeds (discard them), and scoop the warm flesh into the bowl of a food processor or into a regular bowl to use an immersion blender. Whiz the squash around with a pinch of salt and few grinds of pepper until it is totally smooth and no chunks at all remain – you want as silky of a consistency as possible.
Set a large heavy saucepan on one burner, and a medium sized skillet next to it – you’ll use the saucepan for the risotto, and the skillet for the swssschard.
Now, start the risotto. Heat the saucepan over medium heat, and add the 3 Tbsp butter. Heat the butter till it’s melted, then add in the chopped onion and a good pinch of salt. Saute the onion, stirring frequently and taking care not to let it color or burn, until it is translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add in the arborio rice, and stir the rice so that it is well coated in onion and butter. Pour in the white wine, and stir until it is absorbed into the rice, about 1 minute. Then, carefully add a ladle full of the hot stock and water mixture. Gently stir the rice, letting it rest and cook without you stirring for only a few moments at a time, until the stock is completely absorbed and there is absolutely no soupiness left in the bottom of the saucepan. Continue adding the stock in this manner (a ladle full at a time, then stirring until all of the liquid has been absorbed), tasting the rice as you go, until you can taste that the rice is no longer raw on the inside, but is still quite al-dente. This entire process will take 20ish minutes, and when you taste that the rice is nearly tender you will most likely still have a bit of stock left.
When the rice is almost tender, stir in 3 oz of the goat cheese as well as the squash puree. Let the risotto cook for a minute or two while constantly stirring, and then taste it again – if the rice is still too al-dente, add another 1/4 cup stock or so, and stir. Repeat this process till you are happy with the texture of the rice (remember, it should not be overly soft or mushy). Reduce the heat to low, and cover the risotto.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in the medium skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the sliced swisschard and a good pinch of salt. Saute the chard, stirring occasionally and taking care not to let it burn or color, about 2-3 minutes. When the chard is tender, stir in the garlic, tossing everything to combine; add a drizzle of olive oil if the mixture seems too dry. Saute the mixture just for a minute or so, till the garlic is fragrant. Take the mixture off the heat, and stir in the lemon juice.
To serve, mound a heaping portion of the butternut squash risotto onto a plate, and top with a portion of the chard. Crumble some more cheese over the top of the risotto. Serve immediately.