Butternut Squash Risotto

October is my favorite month. I love when the leaves begin to change colors and creates a magnificent palette in the sky. The weather is perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. I call it shorts and hoodie weather and it is the time of year, I wish I could capture and keep the whole year.

Although there are plenty of funny memes out there about the attack of pumpkin during this time, I look forward to pumpkin, spice and everything nice about the season. Although I do like pumpkin, I also love squash, especially butternut squash. (since pumpkin is actually a type of squash, this totally makes sense.)

Today’s recipe is a complete new one for me. I have never made risotto before, and I must admit, I was pretty intimidated before starting. In the end, what they say is true, risotto isn’t difficult, but it is a PiTA. (click here if you don’t know what that means)

Butternut Squash Risotto

This recipe makes A LOT of food! And I only paid $8 for the whole meal. You can’t beat that.
Ingredients:
one small to medium sized butternut squash, chopped
one small onion, chopped
one 16 oz. box of risotto. (I used Bellino)
32 oz. vegetable broth
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 Tbs. butter
ground sage
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Peel butternut squash, clean out center and chop into small pieces. (Here’s a life hack for you – place butternut squash in microwave for 2 minutes in order to make it easier to peel and chop.)
  • Coat butternut squash in 2 Tbs olive oil. Sprinkle with salt (I use sea salt) and pepper. Spread on baking pan and place in oven on top rack. Bake until soft. Start checking around 45 minutes.
  • With about 20 minutes left on the timer for the butternut squash, begin to heat the vegetable broth. It is important that the broth is hot when you add the risotto.
  • Melt 2 Tbs of butter in a pan, and cook onions until translucent, add garlic – do not allow to brown.
  • Pour approximately 1/4 of the broth into a pot. Add risotto to the hot broth, and here’s the tough part, stir constantly until all the broth is absorbed, approximately 15 minutes. Once all liquid is absorbed, add another 1/4 broth and continue to stir until broth is absorbed. Continue this process until all broth is gone.
  • Add the remaining 2 Tbs butter and parmesan to risotto, stir vigorously. Add the onions, garlic and butternut squash and stir again until well mixed.
  • Sprinkle with ground sage and serve immediately.
  • I paired this Butternut Squash Risotto with a 2015 Materra Cunat Family Vineyards, Right Bank Merlot. Read about the winery and my tasting notes by clicking here.

    Chicken Saltimbocca

    I belong to a group of wine bloggers that get together every second Saturday of the month to discuss wine pairings. The group is #WinePW and anyone can join in the conversation. Even if you don’t have  blog, you can follow along with the chat at 11am EST and get some amazings wine and food pairing ideas.

    This past get together had the theme of #SonomaStrong.  I, of course, chose a Ferrari Carano wine. Their Fumé Blanc and paired it with Alfredo Spicy Sausage and Pasta. It was a great pairing. You can read that post and find the recipe here.

    When I was reading my fellow bloggers’ posts, Cindy of GrapeExperiences, made chicken saltimbocca and it sounded so good, that I had to give it a try.  As usual, I changed some stuff up to make it my own.

    Chicken Saltimbocca

    INGREDIENTS:
    1/2 cup flour
    salt and pepper to taste
    4 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless
    1 tablespoon sage
    4 slices prosciutto
    olive oil to coat pan
    1 1/4 cup vermouth
    2 teaspoons lemon juice
    2 tablespoons butter, cut
    1 tablespoon minced, fresh Italian oregano
    4 slices of swiss cheese

    Directions:
    1. Preheat convection oven to 425 degrees
    2. Prepare chicken dipping station by putting flour into a deep bowl and pressing dried sage into chicken cutlets.
    3. Coat chicken in the flour and put aside.floured chicken
    4. Pour enough olive oil to coat bottom of pan and heat. Cook chicken breasts until no longer pink inside and brown on the outside.

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    5. Remove from heat. Place on baking pan and put one piece of swiss cheese and one piece of proscuitto on each chicken.
    6. Place in oven and cook until the cheese is melted and the proscuitto is crisp.

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    7. In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Over medium heat, stir the vermouth into the pan, scraping up the browned bits, and simmer until reduced to about 1/3 cup, Stir in the fresh lemon juice. Reduce heat to low and whisk in the butter and add the oregano.

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    8. Pour sauce over finished chicken and serve immediately.

    I paired this dish with a 2016 Arrogant Frog Pinot Noir {Lily Pad Noir} that I received as a sample.

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    Be sure to check out my Dracaena Wines Blog post about Arrogant Frog coming soon!

    ~Sláinte!