Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Butternut Risotto with Sage, Gorgonzola, & Toasted Pecans {#12WksWinterSquash}

I knew that risotto would figure somewhere in the dishes I would make for the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash event I am participating in. Not only because a good risotto is one of the best comfort foods around, but also because I am working my way through a large container of arborio rice. With leftover Gorgonzola and butternut squash in my fridge, I searched and found this Butternut Risotto with Sage, Gorgonzola, & Toasted Pecans--some of my favorite ingredients.

Flavor-wise, this dish is pretty perfect. Texturally, it wasn't quite so me. Although my instincts told me to roast the squash first, even though the recipe didn't call for it, I didn't listen--and it took an extra 15 minutes or so of cooking time to get it tender. This increase in cooking time resulted in my risotto being a bit softer than I like. Not a deal breaker and not mushy but next time, I will roast it ahead of time and stir it in at the end.     

Butternut Risotto with Sage, Gorgonzola and Toasted Pecans
Created by Rori Trovato--Oprah.com/From the Dec. 2003 issue of O Magazine
(Makes 4 Servings)
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock (I used no-chicken broth)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
2 cloves small garlic, finely chopped (I used 4 cloves)
1 med butternut squash (about 1 1/2 lbs), peeled, seeded & cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 large sage leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans

In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Then reduce heat to low.
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium-high flame, heat the olive oil. Add the onion. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. 

Add the rice; stir until well coated, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and squash and continue to stir another 30 seconds. Lower the heat to medium and add 1/2 cup hot stock. With a wooden spoon, stir until the liquid is absorbed but the rice isn't sticking to the pan. Continue adding 1/2 cup stock and stirring until the stock is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is tender. (Note: It took about 35 minutes total for my squash to cook to the right tenderness, which caused my rice to get a little soft. Next time I would roast the squash and stir it into the risotto toward the end of the cooking time.)

Remove from heat; add the sage, butter, and salt. Season with pepper. Stir to combine. Place risotto in a serving bowl and top with Gorgonzola and pecans.

Notes/Results: With the exception of being just a little soft in texture as mentioned above, this is one pleasing bowl of risotto goodness. The flavors are fabulous--sweet butternut, the herby touch of sage, tangy cheese and the toasty, crunchy pecans all blend together to give every bite well-rounded taste. Excellent comfort food. I will make this again, roasting the butternut first and maybe adding some cranberries--suggested in the variations of the recipe page--for color and tartness. 

This is my Week 10 dish for the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash Event hosted by my friends Heather and Joanne. Feel free to link up your winter squash dishes during the week at the linky below or on any one of the other participating blogs.


  1. Great tip on roasting the squash first!! I often do anyway just because I like the flavor better than if it's just steamed. Looks like a great dish otherwise, though!

  2. Pam Armstrong GreerJanuary 7, 2014 at 3:45 AM

    I did a squash risotto that also didn't call for roasting first, and I knew it didn't sound right. And like you, I found that it probably would have been lots better, roasted first.

  3. The addition of the pecans is brilliant! The perfect bit of crunch.

  4. Deborah, I think pumpkin would be very good in it. I guess with the puree, you could thin it a little and stir it into the rice towrds the end. The sauce for this pumpkin-sage pasta was pretty good--I bet it would work with risotto: http://kahakaikitchen.blogspot.com/2013/12/quick-pumpkin-sage-pasta.html ;-)

  5. Yes, I usually listen to it but I was *lazy* this time! ;-)

  6. They were so yummy in it--both the toasty taste and crunchy texture. ;-)

  7. We have learned for the next time Pam! ;-)

  8. The taste was a big part of why I was going to roast it too Joanne. ;-) It was still really good but definitely roasting would take it up a couple of notches.


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