Butternut Squash Risotto


  • Serving Size: Serves 6-8
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into small dice (about 2-1/3 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 7 cups Cheese Rind Broth (recipe below)
  • 2 cups arborio rice, vialone nano, or carnaroli rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano (about 2 Tbs.)
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • Serving Size: Makes about 4 quarts
  • 1 lb. rinds of Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, or a mix (3-1/2 to 4 cups)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns


1. Heat 1 Tbs. of the butter and 1 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 Tbs. of the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the squash and 1/4 tsp. salt. Add just enough broth to cover the squash, 1 to 1-1/2 cups. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the squash is just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, pour the remaining broth into a 3-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

3. In a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, heat 1 Tbs. of the butter and the remaining 1 Tbs. oil over medium-low heat. Add the remaining shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the bottom of the pot is almost dry, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Using a ladle, add just enough hot broth to cover the rice (about 1-1/4 cups), and cook, stirring, until the broth has reduced to below the rice. Add more broth to cover, and continue cooking and stirring the rice in this manner until the rice begins to look translucent, 5 to 10 minutes.

5. Add the squash and any broth from the skillet. continue cooking, adding more broth as needed, until the rice is al dente, the squash is very tender, and the dish looks creamy, another 10 to 12 minutes. Season with 1 Tbs. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. butter, the grated cheese, and thyme, and stir until the cheese melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Cheese Rind Broth
This savory broth makes use of something that might otherwise be tossed: the rinds of Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese. Use the broth in soups, risotto, pastas, and braises.

1. Combine the rinds, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns in a large (8-quart) pot.

2. Fill the pot with 5 quarts cold water, and bring to a boil over high heat. reduce to a simmer, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broth is fragrant and light golden, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Strain the broth through a medium-mesh sieve set over another pot or a bowl large enough to hold the broth.

Make Ahead Tips
The broth can be made 3 days ahead and kept covered and refrigerated; or freeze in smaller batches for up to 3 months.


                                                            -Melissa Pellegrino for Fine Cooking