Once I learned how to make risotto, I make variations of the same recipe quite a lot during the winter. Use barley instead of arborio rice if you want a nuttier flavor and a healthier dish. The barley takes a little bit longer to cook than the arborio rice. I also use chicken stock, but you could use vegetable stock to make it truly vegetarian. And roast any kind of vegetable - it doesn’t have to be squash. It’s just what we had on hand at the time.
2 cups Acorn Squash, peeled,seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (or any root vegetable)
1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup arborio rice (or pearled barley - it just takes a little longer to cook)
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups vegetable stock (I usually use chicken stock)
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
1/4 cup milk (leave out if you are using barley)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place squash on a small baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with your favorite seasoning. It could be a garlic seasoning or just plain salt and pepper. Toss squash to coat. Roast in the oven until tender, about 20 - 25 minutes.
Bring stock to a simmer in a heavy saucepan. Reduce heat to low and keep warm. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in another large saucepan over medium to medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to look transparent, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add the rice and stir another 2 minutes. Add wine and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue until 3 cups of chicken stock have been absorbed. Add the remaining cup of chicken stock and squash, stirring frequently until the arborio rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
Remove from heat and add the sage leaves, chives and 1 tablespoon butter and milk, stirring until the butter is melted. Stir in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with more Parmesan cheese at the table.