Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Winter Squash- Butternut Squash

Butternut squash has the same benefits as the Spaghetti Squash.  It is sweet and versatile.  I prefer to roast it and then use it for whatever I might be making.  You can eat just as is as a side dish, or add it into other things (like this risotto); you can also puree it and stir into things for a lovely color and texture or probably an all around favorite making it into a soup. 

This recipe will be incorporating my Classic Risotto recipe and making it into a fall favorite of mine.  Sweet, salty, cheesy, filling- so good, seriously. And don’t forget to save the seeds and roast them like we did with the spaghetti squash!

For my Butternut Squash Risotto we just change a small amount of things to make this dish all it's own.  I actually have to credit Giada De Laurentiis for the idea of this.  The addition of the vanilla is definitely odd, and you can always leave it out, but the taste makes it so warm and comforting- it pairs perfect with the squash.  Don't knock it until you try it- I was skeptical at first too.


  •  2-3 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced into bite size pieces
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean seeds scraped plus the hull)
  • Plus all the regular ingredients for classic risotto:
    • 1 cup of rice (shorter the grain the better)
    • about 5-6 cups of chicken stock (you might not use it all- it varies each time)
    • 1 onion, diced
    • ½ cup of dry white wine
    • ½ cup of parmesan cheese
    • Butter

Honestly an easy way to prepare this is go to my risotto link because everything is exactly the same except for two things:

  1. In the pot with the stock add the vanilla
  2. For the squash: preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Toss the squash with salt, pepper and oil and roast for 15-20 minutes until soft (will vary on how small you cut the squash pieces).  When that's done- add to the risotto at the very end and mix until everything is fully incorporated.
  3. Add don't forget to reserve about 1-2 cups of squash for the next recipe of leftover butternut squash soup

Super Easy Leftover Butternut Squash Soup/Puree

(Serves about 2-4 people depending on how thick/thin you make it)

  • 1-2 cups of leftover butternut squash from risotto recipe
  • One small onion, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 small sized carrots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2  cups of chicken stock
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • salt and lots of fresh cracked pepper

  1. In a skillet sweat the onion, celery, carrot and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remember: Sweating is cooking over medium heat and not browning the veggies.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until soft.
  2. Then add the leftover squash and spices.  I mashed the squash a bit in the pan to make it easier for blending later.
  3. Now when everything is heated through- you can do this in either a food processor, blender or you can use your immersion stick blender .  I used a regular blender- so I put about half the veggie/squash mixture in the blender with about ½ - 1 cup of stock- and gave it a buzz until blended.  Then I emptied the blender and did the second batch.
  4. Now the consistency is completely up to you- I like thick soups (almost a puree really) and used less stock- if you want it thinner- just use more stock.  
  5. When all batches are done I put the soup/puree back into the skillet and heated it up- just to make sure it was hot throughout. (because I used leftover cold stock)
  6. When its hot- dish out into bowls and top with whatever you like.  Some suggestions: roasted squash seeds, sour cream, crème fraiche, bacon, extra virgin olive oil etc.

If you leave it thick, like a puree, then you could also serve underneath some baked chicken as a side dish application.

Also to make this soup vegetarian- just use veggie stock instead of chicken!

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