Risotto requires lots of babying and attention, so make sure you can devote about a half hour to standing by the stove and watching it! Additionally, keeping the stock hot is vital, as you don’t want to change the temperature of the risotto each time stock is added.
lightly adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters.
- 1 medium butternut squash (about 1 pound)
- about 24 sage leaves
- 7-8 cups vegetable stock
- 2 small-medium shallots
- 5 1/2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
- Carefully peel and clean the squash, and dice it into very small cubes. Put the diced squash in a heavy-bottomed pot and cook with a few whole leaves of sage, salt, and 1 cup of the vegetable stock. Cook until tender, but not too soft, about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop 6 sage leaves finely and cut the onion into a small dice.
- Heat the rest of the vegetable stock and hold at a low simmer. In another, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 3 Tablespoons of the butter, add the chopped sage, and cook for a minute or so; add the onion and continue to cook over medium heat until it is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and a pinch of salt and cook over low heat for about 3 minutes, stirring often, until the rice has turned slightly translucent. Turn up the heat and pour in the white wine. When the wine has been absorbed, add just enough hot stock to cover the rice, stir well, and reduce the heat.
- Keep the rice at a gentle simmer and continue to add more stock, a ladle or two at a time, letting each addition be absorbed by the rice. While the rice is cooking, sauté the remaining sage leaves in butter until crisp.
- After about 15 minutes, the rice will be nearly cooked. Stir in the cooked squash, the rest of the butter, and the cheese. Continue cooking for 3-5 minutes. Taste for texture and consistency, adding a little more stock if needed. Adjust the seasoning.
- When done, serve in warm bowls and garnish with extra cheese and sautéed sage leaves.