BUTTERNUT, MASCARPONE & ROSEMARY RISOTTO
In the Italian soul food category, risotto reigns. Mascarpone cheese places a close second and is used in both sweet and savory plates. Together, this is comfort food extraordinaire. The brilliant amber color of the squash in this recipe is reminiscent of the stucco farmhouses dotting the Tuscan landscape. The fifteen minutes it takes to stir this risotto is reminiscent of vacations to Il GRANAIO, a 16th century villa and a chef prepared meal with this risotto served along side Tuscan grilled steak. A perfect evening concluded with unmarked bottles of local Italian wine served in the garden under a Van Gogh inspired sky.
The squash may be made a day in advance and refrigerated until ready for use. On weeknights, skip step 9 of the directions. The risotto will not be Italian stucco farmhouse orange, but the taste will be the same.
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1/2" pieces
2 cups yellow onion, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Arborio rice
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
1/2 tablespoon Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Spread the butternut squash on a half sheet pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven until squash is tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes.
3. Place the chicken stock and water in a saucepan and heat over medium heat.
4. In a 4 quart Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot, heat the butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
5. When the butter begins to sizzle, add the onion and sauté until tender.
6. Add the rice and stir to coat the rice.
7. Begin adding the stock one cup at a time. Stir the liquid into the rice and only add additional stock once the previous stock has been absorbed. Continue to stir every couple of minutes.
8. After the rice has cooked for about 10 minutes, add the sea salt and the rosemary. Continue adding the stock until the risotto is al dente.
9. Put one cup of the squash in a bowl and use an immersion blender to purée. Use 1 tablespoon of water if necessary to thin the squash mixture.
10. When the risotto is done, remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, mascarpone, and the cubed and pureed squash. The rice should have a very creamy texture. If too dry, add a bit more stock until the risotto reaches a suitable consistency.
11. Place in a serving dish (or on individual plates) and serve immediately. Pass the grated parmesan and fresh black pepper.
Serves 6 to 8