Before making risotto, please read Making Perfect Risotto. Lots of hints and tips to help you.
6 to 8 cups chicken broth
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided into 4 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups butternut squash, peeled, and finely diced into bite-size pieces*
2 cups arborio rice**
1 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc), I used a dry Vermouth
1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped chives or garlic chives
* When Butternut squash is in season, I buy one large squash and peel and chop into bite sized chunks. Lay in single layer on sheet pan and freeze. When frozen, put into an air tight container or use a vacuum sealer such as the Food Saver. Put back into your freezer. Now your chunks are ready for risotto, soups, or any recipe which calls for them and your work is done and you can remove only what you need.
** Arborio (are-BORE-ee-oh) Rice - is a pearly, round medium grain rice that is readily available in the United States. Its outer coating contains the highest starch level of any Italian variety, which ensures creamy texture in risottos.
In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high, heat chicken broth and keep warm over low heat.
In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter; add onion and diced butternut squash pieces. Cook until onions are translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
Add arborio rice and cook 1 to 2 minutes, making sure all the grains are well coated (toasting the rice in melted butter keeps it from getting mushy).
Add wine and cook, stirring constantly until wine has been completely absorbed by the rice or evaporated.
Add a few ladles of hot chicken broth, just enough to barely cover rice. It is important to add hot stock, not cold, to the rice during the cooking process. Adding cold broth to hot rice results in a hard, uncooked kernel in the center of the grain.
Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the chicken broth has been absorbed. Continue cooking, adding a little bit of hot chicken broth (1/2 cup at a time), stirring frequently, until the chicken broth is absorbed and until the rice is tender (but still firm to the bite), about 15 to 20 minutes. Risotto does not need constant attention during its cooking time. You will just need to check on the pan every few minutes, give the rice a stir to keep it from sticking, and add more stock.
During the last minutes of cooking, add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, and chives. At this point the rice should have a creamy consistency (it should be tender, but firm to the bite). Add salt to taste. Remove from heat.
NOTE: To test the risotto for proper consistency, spoon a little into a bowl and shake it lightly from side to side. The risotto should spread out very gently of its own accord. If the rice just stands still, it is too dry, so add a little more stock . If a puddle of liquid forms around the rice, you have added too much stock. Spoon some liquid off, or just let the risotto sit for a few more seconds off the heat to absorb the excess stock.
Serve with remaining grated Parmesan cheese.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.