Quick-Yet-Decadent Butternut Squash Risotto

Quick-Yet-Decadent Butternut Squash Risotto

3/4 cup each celery, onion and carrot, all diced 1/4″
1 1/2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
1 1/2 cups arborio or medium grain white rice
3 1/2 – 4 cups  stock or water, hot
1/4 cup mascarpone (does it sound less caloric if I write 4T?  go for it…)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
small sprig fresh sage, dry toasted or a sprinkling of dried sage
toasted walnut oil (optional)
olive oil, salt and pepper

Heat large saucepan over medium  heat and add olive oil, about 2T.  Let heat about 1 minute, then add celery, onion and carrot.  Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, then stir in squash cubes.  Stir a bit and allow to cook another 5 minutes.

Stir in the rice and hot stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover.  Let cook at  a simmer for about 15 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so.  Taste after 15 minutes.  The rice should be creamy and cooked through but not mushy.  There should still be liquid left in pan.  If not, stir in another 1/2 cup stock. 

Add the mascarpone and ‘whip’ gently.  Stir in the parmesan.  Divide risotto into serving bowls and top with toasted walnuts and crumbled sage.  Drizzle with a bit of walnut oil for extra flavor (you originally bought this so you could make my kohlrabi-apple salad right?) and if you really want to gild the lily, add a small bit of mascarpone to the top of each serving. 

Leftovers can be reheated with a bit of water or stock.  XVOlive Oil and unsalted butter may be substituted for the walnut oil and mascarpone.  The result will be a tad different but still delicious.  I prefer parmesan to my usual pecorino romano in this case.  Parmesan has a nuttiness that perfectly compliments the squash.

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