Risotto is the food equivalent of a hug in a bowl, and this squash risotto takes comfort food to a new level. Roasting the squash brings out its natural sweetness; if you don’t feel like dealing with the hassle of peeling the acorn squash (those ridges can be such a pain in the you know what), simply replace it with more butternut squash, which has a sweeter flavour. We love the colour and contrast of using both, but the choice is yours. Risotto takes time to make, so pour yourself a glass of good wine, turn on some chill music, and warm up your stirring arm!

Squash Risotto with Fried Sage [Vegan]

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Serves

4 - 6

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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 -inch cubes
  • 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes ~ 3 cups, divided
  • 1/4 cup + 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups finely chopped yellow onion, divided)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed, divided
  • 10 cups vegetable stock, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves (about 12 leaves)
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine (we use pinot gris)
  • 1/2  cup  grated parmesan cheese o
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Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the acorn squash and 1 cup of the butternut squash on the prepared baking sheet, spread it out evenly, and drizzle with 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast until the squash is soft and golden brown on the edges, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons  of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add 1 cup of the onions and cook until soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasion- ally. Add one clove of crushed garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the remaining 2 cups butternut squash and 2 cups of the vegetable stock and simmer until the squash is very soft, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Purée using an immersion blender or high-speed blender. You may need to add more stock to get a thinner purée. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. In a small frying pan over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the olive oil. Add the sage leaves and cook until they are crispy but not turning brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the fried sage leaves to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside.
  5. In a large saucepan, bring the remaining 8 cups vegetable stock to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cover.
  6. In a large heavy-bottomed pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the remaining 2 cups of onions and cook until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining = 2 cloves and crushed garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes to gently toast the rice.
  8. Add the white wine and cook, stirring until the wine is absorbed into the rice. Stir in 1/2 cup of the hot vegetable stock and cook, stirring until the stock is absorbed into the rice, about 2 minutes. Repeat, adding 1/2 cup stock at a time and stirring until each addition has been fully absorbed into the rice and it becomes thick, until the rice is creamy and soft with a slight bite to it, 20 to 25 minutes. You may not use all the stock.
  9. Stir in the roasted squash, parmesan, and salt and pepper taste.
  10. To serve, ladle a few spoonfuls of the squash puree into shallow bowls and spoon the risotto in the centre of the puree. Garnish with additional vegan parmesan and a few crisp sage leaves and serve immediately.
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