Bill Scepansky's Butternut Squash “Risotto”

    Bill Scepansky's Butternut Squash “Risotto” with Rosemary and Garlic Grilled Shrimp

    This rice-less risotto is as creamy and rich as the original however is not as heavy due to the fact that there is no rice.  By cooking the squash in the risotto method, it gets creamy and tender on the outside yet retains the tiny bit of al dente that the rice would have.  Try as is for a starter or perhaps topped with some grilled shrimp as we did for a more substantial meal.  Also, if you don’t have butternut but have a Pumpkin or Hubbard Squash lying around, no problem!  The beauty of winter squash is that most of them cook the same but bring new, interesting twists of flavor to a dish.
     
    Serves 4 as a starter
     
    Ingredients:
     
    2 Tbl.    Canola or Pure Olive Oil
    ½ ea.      Spanish Onion, small diced
    ½ ea.      Butternut Squash, medium sized, peeled & seeded, 3/8” dice
    2 ea.      Sage Leaves, minced
    1 pinch  Nutmeg
    ¼ C.       White wine, dry, such as Chardonnay
    1 ½ C.       Chicken Stock
    1 oz.      Heavy Cream
    1 Tbl.    Butter
    ¼ C.       Parmesan Cheese
    1 Tbl.    Chives, minced
     
    In a medium sauté pan, over medium heat, sweat onions in oil till translucent. Raise heat a touch and add the squash, nutmeg and sage and stir well. Sauté the squash briefly to caramelize and then deglaze with wine.
    Reduce the wine by half and add the stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the stock is mostly absorbed and the squash is just tender and still a little al dente.
    Add the heavy cream and heat through.  Hold warm until ready to serve. When ready, remove from the heat and mount in the butter.

    Sprinkle with chives and cheese. Season to taste and serve with grilled shrimp. 
     
    Rosemary & Garlic Grilled Shrimp:
     
    Simple, rustic and slightly spicy, these shrimp taste great with the sweet butternut squash.
     
    1. In a mixing bowl, toss the shrimp with the rest of the ingredients and refrigerate for at least  one hour to marinate.
     
    2. Skewer the Shrimp and grill over medium-hot heat, preferably over real wood charcoal to pick up a touch of smoke, and cook until they just turn opaque in the center.
     
    3. Serve hot off the grill over the risotto.