Winter meals cannot possibly be complete without using hard squash of some sort. All hard squash is wonderful when added to soups, stews or casserole dishes. All varieties are wonderful: butternut, acorn, calabasa or delicata squash included. Hard squash is almost meaty in texture, with sweet taste and delicate flavor.
Many supermarkets now carry peeled and diced squash to make our kitchen lives even easier. Squash readily absorbs the flavors which mingle alongside it in any recipe. Typically many risottos are made with lots of cream and butter, however this version relies on the intense sweet flavor of roasted squash and sharp, pungent Parmesan cheese. Any stock can be used for this dish.There’s a gaggle of new vegetable broths on the market now including concentrates and pastes made with roast vegetables. Parmesan Reggiano is the undisputed king of Parmesan cheese; however I have made this dish with Manchego, Asiago, and Romano cheese as well producing amazing results.
If you want to add a bit of decadence, toss a few crumbles of creamy goat cheese over the top as well. Another option is adding a handful of chopped dried figs or apricots at the end. Lastly, a Chef’s secret for you. If you manage to have some leftover risotto, form it while cold into small patties. Pan Sauté them the next day in a drizzle of olive oil. It also makes a killer stuffing for portabella mushrooms and bell peppers.
—By Steven Petusevsky