I’d never made an actual risotto before I attempted this recipe a month or so ago. In fact, I’d never even eaten much less prepared butternut squash before. But, I mean really, how could it be bad? Butter? Yum! Nuts? Yum!! Squash? Yum!!! And please, all of the risottos I’ve had were about the richest and fabulous things I’ve ever eaten.
Despite all of this evidence pointing to it being a potentially successful meal, I have to admit I was a little nervous to actually attempt it. People always say risottos are delicate and difficult to create correctly. And really, according to the name, it always seemed to me that single malt scotch should be delicious, like malted milk shakes and butterscotch candy, but I’ve tasted a $200 glass of scotch and it does NOT taste like that. More like rubbing alcohol. So really, who even knows if this butternut squash would live up to the promise of its name?
Regardless of my worries I trudged on. I peeled and chopped the squash as was directed and roasted it on a cookie sheet.
And to my delight, it absolutely lived up to its name! In fact, Jonas (my 2 year old) ate it like candy right off the cookie sheet straight from the oven. He loved it.
I then moved on to the actual risotto part of the recipe. In general, I try to stick with the rule that the first time I use a recipe, I follow it exactly, with no substitutions. This time, however, I decided to take a risk and switch out the pancetta for Italian sausage, which I browned before I began the risotto and set it aside to add when I put in the butternut squash. I also omitted the saffron, just because I didn’t have any and hadn’t worked with it before.
Cooking the rice and cheese was actually much easier and more soothing than I expected. It was time consuming, but relaxing; just a stir and a pour here and there for about 45 minutes.
After the rice was sufficiently cooked I mixed in the sausage and the butternut squash and voila! I absolutely loved it and ate the leftovers for days. The ungrateful, bland-paletted children, however, were another story. Can’t please everyone, I suppose. Someday they will love their mother’s gourmet cuisine, right?