Well now, Happy February.
I love February every year, as it’s the month I celebrate my birthday and have an especially good feeling about this year because it’s full of lots of exciting trips and plans :). So last night on February Eve (sure! that’s a thing), a special dinner kicked off the occasion. It involved really awesome wine and some very delicious food enjoyed while lots of little white snowflakes drifted down outside. What could be better on a random Thursday night?
Happily, risotto looks much more impressive than it really is, tastes delicious and has to be the most soothing dish to cook, ever. Once you’ve got all your ingredients in place, you just stir, stir, stir until it’s decadently creamy and ready to serve. Like February and a really good glass of wine, I just love risotto.
This is based on Sophie Dahl’s recipe for Brown Rice Risotto with Pumpkin, Mascarpone, Sage and Almonds, with a few tweaks – mostly because last time I attempted it I decided I have little to no patience for the lengthy cooking time required by brown rice.
So please enjoy this faster adaptation of an incredibly delicious, incredibly cozy dish! With a little side of salad, you’ve got yourself one fantastic winter night meal.
Butternut Squash Risotto with Mascarpone, Sage and Toasted Almonds
- 1/4 of a yellow onion, finely chopped
- clove of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 cup of arborio rice
- 4 cups of vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup of cooked, pureed butternut squash
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon of mascarpone
- 1 tablespoon of fresh sage, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup of sliced almonds
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, warm vegetable stock to a simmer. Turn heat to low.
Meanwhile, in a risotto pan over low heat, sweat the onion and garlic for a few minutes in one tbsp of olive oil. Add the rice and stir until evenly coated. Add a cup of the warmed stock. Stir rice until stock is absorbed.
Keep adding stock a cup at a time, stirring constantly until the rice has absorbed all four cups. This takes about 30-35 minutes.
While rice is cooking, add almonds to a small non-stick pan and toss to toast until lightly brown.
When the rice is soft and soupy, stir in butternut squash and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then stir in the mascarpone, heating for a few minutes longer. Serve risotto with a sprinkle of sage and toasted almonds on top.