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Butternut Squash, Wild Mushroom, and Sage Risotto

That brisk breeze in the air this week has been quite the relief. No more air conditioners, and hopefully a final farewell to the general stickiness, smelly-ness, and other joys that make up summer in the city. Fall is also a time to welcome back our favorite sweaters, scarves, flannels, the warm colors of the changing leaves, and some of the most comforting ingredients from local harvests. Fall means apples, winter squashes (Butternut, acorn, spaghetti, pumpkin), leeks, root veggies, Brussel sprouts, and beans. These are some of my favorite vegetables, and autumn dishes are some of my favorite of the year. I am looking forward to doing a lot of experimenting while practicing my knife skills and cooking techniques for school.

This week I made a simple Butternut Squash, Sage, and Wild Mushroom Risotto. Risotto is easy to make, inexpensive, and can make a hearty main dish as well as a rich side to meat dishes. Here is the recipe:

1 large butternut squash
1 cup Arborio rice
1 quart homemade or free-range chicken stock
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
2 T butter
1 T chopped fresh sage
Hen-of-the-woods (Maitake) mushrooms
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper


1. Peel the squash, remove seeds, square off, and chop into 3/4 inch cubes. Put on a baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper Roast about 30 mins.

2. Mince shallots, and in a large pot, melt butter. Saute shallots until clear. Ass the rice and cook for about 3 minutes.

3. Add stock one cup at a time, simmering on low heat, about every ten minutes.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the mushrooms in a rough chop. Saute in oil or butter, adding water, until somewhat soft (about 10 minutes, but it’s best to taste for doneness).

5. Cook for about 45 minutes total (until rice is al dente). Remove from heat.

6. Add squash, and stir in cheese and chopped sage.

7. Garnish with cheese.

Stay tuned for my next fall recipe, Savory Polenta with Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes, Japanese Eggplant, and mozzarella Cheese.

Maitake Mushrooms, fresh from Union Square.

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