Butternut Squash Risotto

butternut squash risotto
photo by carmen troesser


2 pints vegetable stock
1 lb. plus 2 Tbsp. butter (preferably Plugrá)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for coating
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
14 oz. uncooked arborio rice
1 cup dry white vermouth
1 large butternut squash
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup pure maple syrup
½ cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups vegetable oil
18 whole sage leaves, plus 2 Tbsp. chopped
½ cup mascarpone cheese
¼ cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)


• Heat the stock and set aside.

• Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and the olive oil in a large saucepot.

• Add the onions and garlic and sweat on low heat for about 10 minutes.

• Add the rice and slightly increase the heat. Stir the rice until it has been coated in the fat and toasts lightly. Add the vermouth.

• Add a ladel-full of stock to the rice, and stir the rice. Once the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, add more stock, one ladel at a time, stirring the rice with each addition. Repeat until the rice is cooked but still has a slight bite to it.

• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

• Slice the squash lengthwise. Scoop out any seeds and pulp. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place on a sheet tray and roast in the oven until tender, about 30 minutes.

• Once cool enough to handle, scoop out the squash, being careful not to scoop any of the skin. Place the cooked squash in a blender or food processor.

• Next, place 1 pound of butter in a pot and cook over medium heat until it becomes foamy, golden brown and has a nutty aroma. Add the butter to the blender with the squash and purée until smooth. Set aside.

• Meanwhile, prepare the gastrique by combining the maple syrup and vinegar in a pot and reducing by half. Set aside.

• Heat the vegetable oil in a pot to 350 degrees. Flash fry the whole sage leaves in the oil (about 10 seconds), until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and set aside.

• Heat all of the rice up with 1 cup of the squash purée (There will be 2 to 3 cups of purée remaining, which can be used for soup or other dishes.), mascarpone cheese and chopped sage in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the rice thickens slightly.

• Ladle equal portions into bowls. Drizzle with the gastrique around the perimeter of the risotto, and top with fried sage and toasted pepitas.