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Risotto is easy. I do not know why people get intimidated. Sure – you stand there stirring for 20-30 minutes but that really is not that long when you consider that you can feed a family with this comforting goodness – and making a large vat takes the same amount of time as a small quantity. I made this vegan because I did not feel it really needed the cheese most risottos use. That said – if you are not vegan – some nice Parmesan or goat cheese might be nice stirred in. Also – I used 2-4 times as much squash as most recipes will suggest. My thinking is that the squash is guiltless & filling so if the risotto is the smaller part of what you eat – it just makes for a lighter meal – and most folks appreciate lighter – especially when it still SEEMS creamy & decadent.
I used a red kuri squash & a butternut – because that is what I had. You can use any orange squash you like or pumpkin or even sweet potatoes.
Vegan Creamy Red Kuri & Butternut Squash Risotto
2 cups risotto or arborio rice
9 cups vegetable stock
2 TBS olive oil
2 shallots – chopped
1 small onion – diced
4 garlic cloves – chopped
1 medium red kuri squash – peeled, seeded & cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cut into bite-sized pieces (or any combo you prefer)
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
GARNISH OPTIONS – chopped parsley, fried sage, vegan or real Parmesan, vegan or real goat cheese, any soft & creamy cheese you like (vegan or otherwise)
Bring the stock to a boil, reduce heat & leave simmering on the lowest flame.
Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot on MEDIUM heat & cook the shallots & onion for about 2 minutes. Add the squashes & stir. Cook the squash for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic & stir. Cook for about 1-2 minutes. Do not burn the garlic.
Add the wine (if using) and let the alcohol cook off (which happens very fast). Add the rice & stir to incorporate the rice.
Add the stock, one cup at a time & stir it in. I left mine with a lid on a pan for a minute here & there to aid in steaming the rice. Once that stock is absorbed, add more & keep stirring. In about 20-30 minutes – you should have stirred in most of the stock. Reserve about a cup. If the rice is not tended – turn the heat to low & cover the pan for a few minutes. If you need to add the rest of the stock – you can. I used a potato masher & mashed about half of the squash into the rice. This is an optional step – but it makes the risotto even creamier. Once the rice is tender – I like to either stir in more stock or some water so that the risotto is just a tad more like a thick soup. I hate dry & clumping risotto – but others might prefer it that way. If you like it drier – just cook it down (careful not to burn it) until it is thick enough. If it gets too thick – add stock or water.
I served mine looking as soupy as that above. The rice keeps absorbing so – it will thicken up fast. Season with S&P.
Garnish as you desire & serve.