Happy Monday to you! Got a yummy seasonal recipe today to celebrate the beginning of fall but first, how was your weekend? My Instagram feed was full of friends’ trips to the apple orchard, photos of the farmers’ market, and long walks in the crisp autumn air.
My weekend? Not quite the same. We bought a car on Saturday and spent nearly the entire day at the dealership. There was a car show going on and as a result the whole process took about 3 times longer than it should have. Blarg!
Nevertheless, I managed to usher in the first official fall weekend in a few fun ways. Starting with stocking up on mini pumpkins at the grocery store – ahh! Nothing makes me happier this time of year than decorating the house with a few of these babies. So adorable.
Sunday morning I indulged in thick-cut bacon for breakfast while sipping coffee and playing with Lincoln in our long-sleeved PJs with the windows and doors open. I love that we can finally open the house up now that the weather is cooling down. The upstairs of our house gets really hot in the summer so we’ve had to keep the air cranked to keep L’s bedroom comfortable. Let the breeze roll in – hallelujah!
The highlight of the weekend though? I got my first post-baby run in!!!! Sunday afternoon, sun shining, cool breeze blowing – life changing. 2 miles never felt so good. No pain and I definitely wasn’t the bumbling newborn deer I thought I would be. Cannot WAIT to get back out there and slowly increase my mileage. I forgot what a high a good sweat-inducing workout can provide. It’s been way too long!
We wound the weekend down with family time at my parent’s place. This is Lincoln’s SOS face. I’m smiling because she’s making me – but seriously, send help! ; )
MWAH! Can’t get enough of my little dude!! (I feel the need to mention that my hair is wet in this photo, and not greasy. Saturday, it was grease. Sunday it was wet. #momlife)
Ok, back to this recipe! I’ve been waiting weeks to bust this dish out and figured yesterday, the first official day of fall, was the perfect day to stir up a big, bubbling pot of Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto - with a time-saving shortcut!
This risotto was inspired by the forest of sage Ben and I have growing in our backyard. The previous owners scattered herbs like sage, oregano, and thyme in with the rest of the landscaping which is nice because not only does it look beautiful, but it’s functional, too. Look at all this sage!
I scattered the sage in with sweet butternut squash cubes cooked right in the same pot as the thick and creamy risotto. You’ve got to give this combo a try – it’s divine. Comforting and so fall. I can’t wait to show you a way to shave a few minutes off the cooking time for this risotto, too!
Start with a butternut squash. Butternut squash is sweet and creamy when cooked, and is my favorite fall squash by far. For this recipe you’ll need a small one, about 2lbs to yield 3 cups cubed squash.
Prep the squash by cutting off the top and bottom then cutting it in half (1). Peel the squash then slice the bulbous end in half and scoop out the seeds (2). Finally slice the squash in 1/2″ slices, then into 1/2″ cubes (3,4). Whew!
Tip: Butternut squash is pretty hard so make sure you’re using a very sharp knife. Tip 2: Trader Joe’s, and I’m sure other grocery stores, sell pre-cubed butternut squash that you could also use. Just make sure the squash is cut into 1/2″ cubes so it gets tender enough in the risotto.
Aaaand, a keepin’ it real shot. ; )
Next bring 5 cups chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan then reduce the heat to low and keep it at a simmer.
Meanwhile, in a very large saucepan saute 1 large shallot with 2 minced garlic cloves in 1 Tablespoon butter, then stir in 1 cup arborio rice. Arborio rice is short and starchy, which makes it perfect for producing a thick and creamy risotto.
Stir the rice to coat in the butter then add 1/3 cup white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc) and stir until it’s nearly absorbed.
Be sure to snag the wine before your sous chef drinks it all! ; )
Next add the cubed butternut squash and ALL 5 cups of hot chicken broth. I know – so nontraditional! Stir constantly until the rice and butternut squash are tender, about 25 minutes.
Normally for risotto you’d add 1/2 cup broth at a time, stirring until it’s nearly absorbed before adding another 1/2 cup, but thanks to a tweet from celebrity chef Tyler Florence this weekend who declared an attempt at adding all the broth in at once a success, I decided to give it a try – and it totally worked!! The risotto turned out fabulously creamy and the cooking time was slashed by at least 15 minutes. PLUS I was able to let the squash cook right in the same pot as the rice. Win, win!
Finish up the risotto by stirring in 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese and 10-12 chopped fresh sage leaves.
Scoop onto plates, then devour!
Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as side dish
1 Tablespoon butter
1 large shallot, chopped
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine
3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2″ cubes
5 cups chicken broth
10-12 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan then turn heat to low and keep at a simmer.
- In a large saucepan heat butter then add shallot, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until tender, 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 more seconds. Add rice then stir to coat and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add wine then stir until nearly absorbed. Add butternut squash and heated chicken broth. Turn heat up just slightly then stir constantly until rice and squash are tender, and nearly all the broth is absorbed, about 25 minutes. If broth gets to a hard boil, turn heat back down. Remove pan from heat then stir in sage and parmesan cheese then serve.
This risotto was everything I’ve been dreaming of. A little sweet from the butternut squash, a hint of freshness from the sage, and I just loved the creamy, chewy rice. Enjoy!