Welcome to the Italian Cookery column with Silvia Todesco, and this month another Italian classic dish that all the family will love Butternut Squash and Porcini Risotto
In the eight years I’ve lived in eastern Iowa, I’ve never found dried porcini mushrooms anywhere. So, I hesitated to post this recipe, since it felt wrong to be publishing a recipe that not all my followers could cook. However, the other day at the grocery store, while I was walking trough the veggies department I found many varieties of dried mushrooms, porcini included!
So finally I can share with you this amazing recipe, absolutely delicious and perfect for the fall (both in taste and in color!). And just to make it clear, even if your kids don’t like mushrooms, they will love the delicate sweet taste of this risotto (even if they will probably eat it by setting aside on the plate the porcini 🙂 ).
Just to satisfy some curiosity you may have, in Italy finding mushrooms is pretty easy: mushrooms love moist, temperate climes, and since Italy has plenty of mountains (Alpi and Appennini) we can proudly grow about a large variety of mushrooms. Aside from porcini, other famous species are chiodini (honey mushrooms) and finferli. Plus there are many more! If you like risotto, I definitely suggest you try this one; you’ll be pleasantly surprised with its “goodness.” 🙂 It takes not more that 30 minutes to make, with the only foresight to dump the dried mushrooms in water at least 20 minutes before you start cooking.
4 servings Ingredients
- 2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice
- 1 pack or 60 gr. dried porcini mushrooms
- 1/2 medium sized butternut squash peeled and chopped in small cubes
- 1/2 medium sized white onion
- 4 tsp. rosmary (better if fresh)
- 1 cloves garlic
- about 5 tbs. olive oil
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 5 tbs. parmesan cheese
- pepper to taste
- salt to taste
- about 64 oz. hot chicken broth (better if homemade) or vegetable buillon
- optional: 1 Tbs. butter or mascarpone cheese and 1 handful of parmesan cheese for the “mantecatura” (click here for the meaning)
- Grated Parmesan cheese for dusting.
Soak the porcini in about 1 cup of warm water at least 15 minutes before to cook them. Or, if the directions on the packaging indicate something different, it is best to prepare them accordingly.
Clean the butternut squash, removing the skin and the seeds, and cut it into very thin cubes.
Drain the mushrooms, but keep some of the water used to soak them. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve or even coffee filter to avoid sand. If some mushrooms looks too big in size, feel free to cut them in two with a kitchen scissors. Warm up the broth for the risotto (or the water, in case you decide to use a vegetable bouillon).
In a skillet heat 2 tbs. of olive oil, then add garlic, rosemary and the chopped onion and cook them until the onion becomes translucent (be careful not to burn). At this point, add the porcini, a pinch of sea salt and 1 tsp. nutmeg. Let the mushrooms cook for about ten minutes at medium heat, being careful not to burn them, stirring once in a while. You’ll know they are cooked once they become tender.
In the meanwhile, in a pan, add 3 tbs. olive oil and when the oil gets hot, add the chopped butternut squash, 2 tsp. rosemary and a pinch of sea salt and cook until becomes brownish and tender. It would take about ten to fifteen minutes at medium heat, stirring occasionally, and always be careful not to burn.
(At this point the broth in the other pot should have reached the boiling point. Lower the heat and keep it on hand, you will use it soon!). Now that mushrooms and squash are cooked, move the squash into the mushrooms skillet. Start the heat, and when it seems the mix is hot, add the risotto rice and let “fry” for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Try not to stir immediately. Only when it seems like the mixture starts sticking to the pan, add 1 ladle of porcini soaking water. As a rule for a perfect risotto “al dente” I start the 20 minutes cooking timer in the precise moment I add the first ladle of liquid to the rice.
Once that water has been absorbed, add salt as desired, and keep adding broth (best 1 ladle at a time until liquid has been absorbed by rice.) and repeat until there are just three minutes left on the timer.
At this point, switch off the heat, add another ladle of broth, the butter (or mascarpone cheese) and the parmesan.
Stir ingredients together and then cover the pot with a lid until the end of the 20 minutes, for the MANTECATURA phase.
This process will make your risotto creamy and dense, in other words “all’onda”. At the end of the twenty minutes, serve your risotto still warm, and suggest your guests to sprinkle some grated parmesan on the top of it, if they like.
LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
If you’d like to experiment more “mushrooms recipes” you may want to have a look to:
I really hope you enjoyed my recipe this month, and If so, please don’t forget to like it, share it or leave a comment!
My thanks to Silvia for another delicious recipe, and it would be great if you would share your feedback and the post for others to enjoy and subscribe to Italian Goodness if you would like to receive a new recipe each week for free.
About Silvia Todesco
I’m Silvia, I come from Veneto Region (from Bassano del Grappa precisely, one hour by car far from Venice), and I moved to Iowa in 2011, because of my husband’s job necessities.
I’ve grown up watching my great-grandmother, my grandmother, and my mother cooking for my family every day, searching carefully for ingredients and preparing fresh food. That was their way to show us how much they cared (and care) about us, and to carry on a tradition. I cannot recall a festivity without relatives everywhere and tons of delicious food to eat!
But my way was different I graduated with honors at the University of Law of Padua, and (obviously) I became a lawyer. As a professional, I used to work 14 hours a day, and, of course, the time I could dedicate to my family (and cooking) was almost none.
Then fate brought us here, and finally I’ve found myself. All my background came up, and I realized that taking care of my family is the most satisfying job I could do, especially because it entails cooking healthy and good food!
So I started to practice what I learned when I was young, and surprised myself in making all those meals that characterized my youth.
Integration in a new society is not easy, but it was nice for us to discover how much Italians are loved abroad! And since every new person we have met asked me if I was a good cook, and told me that they love Italian food, well, I decided to share my Italian cooking culture and recipes with you!
Of course, you won’t need to be an expert to follow my recipes! What I’m writing about is our daily menus- recipes made with simple and few ingredients, most of the time cheap and healthy (because the food is not processed).
Plus, considering my passion for cooking, I will also share with you new recipe I discovered in magazines, websites, or shared by friends, and in this case I will always describe you the origin of my posts objects.
In addition, I promise not only to write about Italian food, but especially to give suggestions related to where and how to find the right ingredients and tools you will need. I really hope that you will enjoy my tips!
You can find all the recipes for a four course Italian meal in this file and also Silvia’s monthly posts. Italian Cookery with Silvia Todesco
Thanks for dropping in and I hope you will enjoy making this wonderful and authentic recipe.