Butternut Squash Risotto with Pinot Noir Reduction
by Chris Nelson
serves: 4
  This creamy and savory dish is a step up from an old italian classic. The smells and tastes of fall make this a must have dish as you watch the trees turn to reds and golds. Serve as a side or the main course; either way, it's sure to not disappoint.
  1 ea   Small Butternut Squash Peeled and Cubed
  1 ea   Small Yellow Onion Diced
  2 sprigs   Fresh Thyme
  0.50 cups   Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  1 tsp.   Kosher Salt
  0.50 tsp.   Fresh Ground Pepper
  2 Tbs.   Dark Brown Sugar
  2 Tbs.   Unsalted Butter
  1 Btl.   Pinot Noir
  2 Tbs.   Sugar
  1 tsp.   Salt
  0.50 tsp.   Fresh ground Pepper
  1 cup   Aborio Rice
  2 cups   chicken stock
  2 oz.   Freshly Grated Parmesan
  2 sprigs   Fresh Thyme
  Squash Mixture: (can be made up to 3 days in advance)

Place first six ingredients in sauce pan. Cover and steam over medium high heat for 12-15 minutes or until the squash is tender and can be smashed with a fork. During steaming, check occasionally and add additional broth if necessary to prevent scorching. When squash is tender, drain any excess liquid and remove sprigs of thyme; add brown sugar and butter and smash with a potato masher until butter and sugar are fully incorporated.

Pinot Noir Reduction: (Can be made 1 month in advance)

Preheat wide pan over medium high heat until hot. Pour in wine and flame until alcohol has all burned off. Add sugar, salt and pepper and simmer until reduced by three quarters. Consistency should be that so it will coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place the reduction in an airtight container and store in fridge until ready to use.


In a wide pan, large enough to hold risotto and squash mixture, toast rice over medium heat until the grains just start to release their oils. Add stock, cover and cook for 12 minutes or until rice is tender. Additional time or liquid may be needed to achieve desired consistency. When ready, remove from heat; fold in squash mixture and cheese; plate and drizzle with desired amount of reduction sauce. Use remaining sprigs of thyme for garnish.

Serves 4