Butternut squash is a versatile veg that goes with just about everything, but its ultimate use might just be in risotto. Its sweet flavor and tender flesh provide the perfect contrast to the rich, brothy creaminess of risotto. To really turn up the taste in this recipe, we’re also adding herby sage, shreds of Parmesan, and a pepita garnish for crunch.
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Vegetable Stock Concentrate
Wash and dry all produce. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss butternut squash on a baking sheet with a large drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tender and lightly browned, 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring stock concentrates and 4 cups water to a gentle simmer in a medium pot over low heat to create stock. Mince or grate garlic. Halve, peel, and finely chop shallot.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and shallot and cook until soft, 3-4 minutes, stirring. Season with salt and pepper. Add rice to pan and toss until grains are translucent, 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Add stock to pan ¼ cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Allow rice to absorb stock before adding more. Continue until rice is al dente, 25-30 minutes—risotto should be thick but not stiff and grains should have a little bite to them.
While risotto cooks, pick sage leaves from stems and discard stems. Set aside a few small leaves for garnish, then finely chop the rest. TIP: Practice this Italian phrase while you wait for the risotto to finish: Chi se move mangia e chi sta fermo secca (Those who move eat. Those who stay still dry up).
When risotto is finished simmering, stir butternut squash, chopped sage, Parmesan, and 1 TBSP butter into pan. Season generously with salt and pepper. Divide risotto between plates. Garnish with pepitas and reserved sage leaves.