Chipotle Butternut Squash Risotto
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- 1 butternut squash (2 to 3 pounds) peeled seeded, cut into 1/4” dice
- 1/4 cup olive oil plus 3 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt divided, or to taste
- 6 to 7 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup requesón or mascarpone cheese
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sauce from chipotles in adobo
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cup finely chopped leeks
- 1 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup grated Cotija cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh epazote leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Set a rack in upper third part of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the butternut squash on baking sheet, drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with the chipotle chile powder and 1 teaspoon of the salt and toss. Place in the oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until cooked and very soft. Scrape onto a bowl and set aside.
- Pour the chicken broth into a saucepan set over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low.
- While your both comes to a simmer, combine the requeson or mascarpone cheese with the sauce from chipotles in adobo and the maple syrup in a small bowl. Season with salt to taste and set aside.
- Before moving on, be ready with your roasted butternut squash and chicken broth that should be at a low simmer, if need be, raise heat to medium.
- Heat ¼ cup olive oil in an extended casserole or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Once hot, add the leeks, onion and ½ teaspoon of the salt, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until softened and wilted. Pour in the water and continue to cook and stir until the water has completely evaporated, the vegetables have become even softer, and they begin to glisten with the oil.
- Incorporate the rice and stir well to combine with the vegetables and coat in the oil. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, stir, and cook 3 to 4 minutes. The rice should start to smell toasty, but it shouldn’t brown.
- Pour in the wine, stir, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more until it completely evaporates, then immediately add a large ladleful of the simmering broth. Cook at a simmer until it is absorbed and you can see the bottom of the casserole when you stir.
- Add the next ladle of broth, along with about a fourth of the roasted butternut squash, simmer and cook until the liquid is absorbed again. Repeat 3 more times, adding another ladle of broth and a fourth of the squash each time, until all the squash has been added.
- Continue adding broth by the ladleful until the risotto is cooked al dente. Add a cup more broth and stir before you turn it off; it should be quite soupy, yet the broth should be thick.
- You may have used only 6 cups of the broth or all 7 cups, depending on the heat of your stovetop and the weather where you live. What matters is the rice is still al dente and the consistency still seems a bit soupy.
- Turn off the heat, top with the butter and the seasoned requeson or mascarpone cheese. Stir well to mix. Sprinkle on the grated cotija and the epazote and cilantro and serve.