For the risotto:
- 600 gr arborio rice
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 chopped brown onion
- 50 gr. butter
- 50 gr. blue cheese (sweet Gorgonzola or creamy blue danish)
- 50 gr. grated parmigiano
- 4 spoons of extra virgin olive oil
- ground white pepper
- 2 l. of vegetable broth (you can prepare it by boiling water with carrot, celery and onion for half an hour, or you can prepare it with two cubes dissolved in two liters of boiling water)
For the crispy butternut squash:
- a piece of the squash above
- some natural breadcrumbs
- some extra virgin olive oil
- a pinch of chili flakes
Clean the squash by removing the outer skin and the seeds and filaments from the inside. Cut a quarter of it into fairly thick sticks of about 1cm x5, and cut the rest into small pieces.
Mix the stick in a bowl with some breadcrumbs, a pinch of salt, a pinch of chili flakes and a little bit of evo oil. Put them in a tray covered with baking paper, spread sone other oil on top and cook them at 180 degrees for about 15/20 minutes, until they are crispy outside and soft inside.
Now put a large pan, big enough to contain even the rice, on a medium-high heat with 4 spoons of evo oil and a little piece of butter (10/15 gr.), add the onion and cook until it starts to became brown. Now add the squash cut in small pieces and let it cook for about 10 minutes, adding a couple of ladles of boiling broth if necessary.
Put a non-stick pan on high heath, without any seasoning, and when is really hot put the rice and toast it for 3/4 minutes, without burning it. Now add the rice to the squash, and start adding a few ladles of boiling broth, enough to cover the rice. The cooking time of Arborio rice is about 16 minutes, and there is no need to stir it continuously. You just need to be sure that there is always enough liquid and the temperature is always close to boiling. When you see that the broth is reducing, add another ladle of it. You will see that the more the rice is cooked, the less broth will be needed. When the rice is almost cooked, add only a little broth at a time, to avoid that too much liquid remains at the end of cooking. After the cooking time (15/16 minutes from when you started adding the broth), turn off the heat. If it seems to you that the rice is too dry, add another drop of broth; the consistency must be creamy. Then add the remaining butter, the grated parmigiano and the blue cheese, mix everything gently and let the risotto rest for two minutes with the lid on.
Now you can serve your risotto adding on top some squash crispy sticks and if you like another little piece of blue cheese.
To enhance the flavour of the squash you can add, with the broth, one spoon of smoked paprika.
Instead of the crispy squash sticks, you can add on top some strips of crispy bacon or a few walnuts.
Here you can find the video for the recipe: