serves: 6 servings
Risotto with squash is excellent since it truly reflects the fall season. To give this risotto more complexity, make it with shrimp.
1 pound butternut squash , peeled and seeded
1 pound shrimp, small (about 35-40 per pound)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup onions, minced
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
2 cups arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
6½ cups hot chicken stock, or canned chicken broth
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup scallions , chopped, greens included
1 pinch nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
freshly ground black pepper
Steam the squash until tender but still firm, about 10 minutes. Transfer half of it to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Scrape out the squash puree into a small bowl. Set the puree and diced squash aside separately.
In a heavy, wide 3 to 4-quart casserole or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and shallot and cook them until golden, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Toast the rice until the edges become translucent, 1 to 2 minutes.
Pour in the wine and stir well until evaporated. Add 1/2 cup of the hot stock and the salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until all the stock has been absorbed. Add the squash puree and diced squash. Continue to add hot stock in small batches, just enough to completely moisten the rice, and cook until each successive batch has been absorbed. Stir constantly and adjust the level of heat so the rice is simmering very gently while adding the stock until the rice mixture is creamy but al dente. This will take 16 to 20 minutes from the first addition of stock. In the last 5 minutes of this step (between 22 and 15 minutes), add the shrimp and scallions.
Remove the casserole from the heat. Beat in the butter until completely melted, then the grated cheese. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if necessary, and pepper. Serve immediately, ladled into warm shallow bowls.