When I lived in Western Massachusetts, my favorite restaurant was Fusion. A trendy establishment (now it appears to have more of a cafe ambiance), they served tapas, sushi and martinis. I always ordered vegetarian risotto, their most delectable dish. It was my first time tasting the piquant flavor of truffle oil, which they drizzled over the top. That one dish began my love affair with risotto.
While it’s available year-round, butternut squash is in season from the end of summer to the beginning of fall, making this the perfect time to cook this creamy, comforting dish. I adapted Colleen Patrick-Goudreau‘s recipe from my fave cookbook, The Vegan Table, adding the thyme and truffle oil. I always add wine to risotto…as I think booze (whether it’s in or out of the meal!) makes every recipe tastier. Sage, with its peppery flavor and smell of pine trees (not kidding, my kitchen smelled like Christmas!), is the perfect herb to accompany the sweetness of squash. Thyme also has a complex peppery flavor. And as I raved about in my Mushroom Stroganoff recipe, truffle oil’s pungent, earthy flavor brings everything together.
So whether you crave an elegant yet hearty meal or just want to curl up with a bowl of delish comfort food and a good book, this piquant recipe will satiate your appetite.
Butternut Squash Risotto
7 cups vegetable broth
3 cups butternut squash, peeled & cubed
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon truffle oil
Salt & pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat veggie broth on medium heat. Once it begins to simmer, add butternut squash.
In a separate large pot, heat olive oil, garlic and sage on medium heat. Saute for a few minutes until garlic turns golden brown. Add arborio rice and wine. Cook for a few minutes until wine burns off.
In the pot with rice, add a ladle of veggie broth (without the squash). Stir frequently. Continue to add a ladle of broth each time it cooks off. Rice will take approximately 20-25 minutes to cook.
In the meantime, keep an eye on the butternut squash. This will cook in about 10-15 minutes or so separately from the risotto. Watch to make sure the squash doesn’t overcook. It’s done when you can pierce it easily with a fork; you don’t want it too mushy. As soon as it’s done, pour the broth into a colander with another pot underneath it. Set aside the squash and return the broth to the stove to simmer.
Keep stirring frequently, adding ladles of broth without squash until rice is tender. As rice gets close to being done, it will get creamy and thick. When it’s just about done, add thyme and cooked butternut squash, stirring thoroughly.
Remove from heat. Drizzle with truffle oil and add salt and pepper to taste.