Yuletide Squash Risotto

I am, yet again, going against tradition when it comes to Holiday dining. Although I simply adore the old-fashioned mashed potatoes, squash, peas and everything else that is generally found on our tables with the family gathered around, I also embrace change. This is one of those recipes that I can’t say no to. Put risotto in front of me and I will growl like a rabid dog if I sense that someone is even coming near my plate. If more people tried homemade risotto, more people would have that same, protective instinct as I do. The creaminess and savory flavor of this squash risotto is only matched by the love and effort your parents infused in your Holiday meal.

Yuletide Squash Risotto

1 lb. fresh acorn squash, peeled, seeded and diced*
3 T. butter or margarine, room temperature
1/4 c. minced onion or sliced green onion
1 c. Arboria or other short-medium grained rice
3 c. chicken or vegetable broth or stock
Salt and ground pepper to taste
1/2 c. grated or shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. heavy or light cream(half-and-half works well too)

Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Add the squash and cook until a knife pierces the flesh easily: drain.  There should be about 3 cups.  If you have more than you should, set it aside to make this recipe again. Bring the chicken broth to a boil, turn heat to low and keep simmering in a separate saucepan while preparing the recipe.
Heat the butter in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook 3-4 minutes, or until soft. Add the rice and saute for 2 minutes.  Add a cup of the hot broth. Continue to add broth, 1 cup at a time once the previous cup is absorbed by the rice. Stir rice continually. After 18 minutes, add the cooked squash and remove from heat and add the Parmesan cheese, stirring until mixed well. Stir in cream until mixed well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a few shaved pieces of cheese and a sprinkle of parsley if  desired.

Yields: 4-6 servings

* This may take 2 acorn squashes to make 1 pound of prepared. And don’t worry about being exact in the weight, just get as close as you can. You can cheat and use canned squash if you desire. The choice of squash is yours. I love acorn squash but butternut is great as well as buttercup.