Susan Spungen shared the perfect fall recipe with me from her new book, Open Kitchen: Inspired Food for Casual Gatherings.
Everyone loves a good, creamy risotto, but it’s a little hard to pull off at the last minute with the nearly constant stirring required. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got lots of other things to do twenty minutes before sitting down to eat! This version can be made well ahead of time — up to one day before you want to serve it, so all you have to do is pop it in the oven about a half hour before you’re ready to serve, and you’ll have a bubbling, creamy side dish that everyone will love. Serve it with chicken, pork, or turkey meatballs, or as a meatless main with a green salad on the side.
4 to 5 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
4 cups diced butternut squash (from 1 medium squash)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, minced (about ½ cup)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or sage
1½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 ounces Taleggio or fontina cheese, grated
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
Fried Sage Leaves
1. Set a saucepan with the stock on the back burner of the stove and add the squash. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered (so you don’t cook off too
much of the stock), until the squash is just tender, about 10 minutes. Keep warm over low heat.
2. Heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a low, wide saucepan over medium-low heat and add the shallots and rosemary. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are softened and golden, about 8 minutes. Turn up the heat to medium-high, add the rice, and cook, stirring, until the grains look slightly translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook until it’s nearly absorbed. Add a ladleful of stock (it should be just enough to barely cover the surface of the rice) and using a slotted spoon, add a few spoonfuls of squash. Cook at a lively simmer, stirring very frequently, until it’s nearly absorbed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Continue adding stock and squash in this way until the rice is very creamy but still al dente, 15 to 20 minutes total. You may not need all of the stock, but do add all of the squash, pressing some of it against the side of the pan as you go to add starch to the liquid. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter, the nutmeg, and salt and season with pepper. Stir in ¾ cup of the Parmigiano cheese and the Taleggio cheese.
3. Transfer the risotto to a large bowl to cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Add enough extra stock to make the risotto a little soupy (you want it extra loose, as it will continue to absorb liquid). Transfer the mixture to a medium baking dish. Either set aside for up to 2 hours or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
4. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
5. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, mix with the breadcrumbs and the remaining ¼ cup Parmigiano cheese, and sprinkle on top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown. Garnish with the fried sage leaves. Serve immediately.
This originally appeared on Medium.