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Early Fall Squash Risotto with Crisp Sage
Makes 4 servings
*3 tbls. whole butter
*1/4 cup diced butternut squash
*Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
*3 butternut squash, sliced in half
*1/4 cup orange juice
*1/4 tsp. ginger root
*1/4 tsp. cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. star anise
*1/2 cup brown sugar
*1 cup vegetable stock
*1 cup heavy cream
*1/2 cup peanut oil
*1/4 yellow onion, diced
*1 clove garlic, chopped
*1/2 tbls. shallots, chopped
*3/4 cup Arborio rice
*1/2 cup dry white wine
*4 cups chicken stock
*2 tbls. grated Parmesan cheese
*1 tbls. parsley, chopped
*1 tbls. sage leaves, fried in peanut oil
1In a small saucepan, heat 1 tbls. butter. Saute ¼ cup of the diced squash until tender and begins to caramelize. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve.
2In a roasting pan, place 3 squash cut side up. Add the following ingredients, drizzling or sprinkling over squash: orange juice, ginger root, cinnamon, star anise, ¼ cup brown sugar and ½ cup vegetable stock. Cover with foil and cook for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool slightly. Scoop out flesh of squash and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add heavy cream, remaining vegetable stock and brown sugar (add more if needed). Set aside until needed to add as puree to risotto.
3In a medium-size heavy saucepan, heat the peanut oil. Over medium-high heat, saute the onion, garlic and shallots until soft, stirring all the while. Do not brown. Add the rice and continue to stir with a wooden spoon, coating the rice with the oil.
4Deglaze with the wine and cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Slowly add stock to the rice. Stir often, until the liquid is absorbed. Add more stock and repeat the procedure until the rice is tender but still firm. Add the squash puree and continue to stir until rice becomes creamy.
5Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tbls. butter, Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6Divide the risotto among 4 large heated plates and top with caramelized squash and crispy sage.
Francois Kwaku-Dongo of Spago, Chicago, IL