This is really easy for risotto and a perfect dinner if treatment has left you feeling tired and weary. There’s no stirring and, if you buy pre-cut squash, not much chopping either. This delicious... risotto has beautiful and golden color and a soupy consistency, so add a little of those extra cups of stock as needed if it looks dry. We garnish it with winter squash’s most divinely classic pairing, brown butter and sage, but if you want something a little different, try substituting this for Zuni Sage Pesto. It’s delicious, too.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt, and cook until it starts to soften, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin, stir to mix. Cover and sweat over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring from time to time, or until the pumpkin has started to soften.
Add 4 cups of stock and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft. Add the rice, stir to mix, and cook for 15 minutes. The pumpkin will have disintegrated and the rice will be just al dente. Add a little extra stock if it looks very thick. Stir in the Parmesan. Taste for salt.
While the rice is cooking, melt the butter in a small pan or skillet over low heat. Do this slowly for the best results. When the butter has stopped foaming and is clear with nut-brown residue, add the garlic and cook until it is just golden. Remove, turn up the heat a notch, and add the shredded sage leaves. Cook until just crisp, about 2 minutes. Reserve half the leaves.
Stir the butter mixture into the rice. Cover and let sit for 2 minutes. Add a little extra warm stock if the risotto looks dry – it should be a little soupy. Serve immediately sprinkled with the reserved sage leaves and a chunk of Parmesan to grate over the top.
Kabocha is very starchy and will literally dissolve into the broth, making it quite thick. Always check for water when using it for this dish. If you use butternut squash it is more watery and may need less extra stock. You can also find it pre-cut which will make this dish even easier if you’re feeling tired from treatment.
If you are on a bland diet, in step 3 halve the amount of butter and leave out the garlic. Melt the butter and use it to crisp the sage.
On the other hand, if you are looking to increase calories, either keep the recipe as is, or make a batch of delicious Zuni Sage Pesto instead of the butter.