All the hallmarks of spring may be here: baseball has begun, leaves are returning to trees, and the sun is staying in the sky later and later. That doesn't mean, however, that we're done with warm comfort food. This risotto brings a toasty delight, for those evenings where spring hasn't quite sprung. Candied walnuts and butternut squash topping creamy richness reminds us that sweeter, hotter days are yet to come.
Place butternut squash on prepared baking sheet and toss with 1 tsp. olive oil, ¼ tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper.
Spread into a single layer. Roast in hot oven until tender, 17-22 minutes.
While squash roasts, prepare ingredients.
Prepare Ingredients and Candy Walnuts
Peel and mince shallot.
Stem and mince sage.
Place another medium pot over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and 1 Tbsp. water to hot pot. Stir until sugar is dissolved, 1-2 minutes.
Add walnuts. Once water starts bubbling, stir often until syrup forms and walnuts are coated and glazed, 1-2 minutes.
Carefully, transfer walnuts to a plate. Spread into a single layer and let cool. Hot nut alert! Walnuts will be very hot.
Reserve pot; no need to wipe clean.
Start the Risotto
Return pot used to candy walnuts to medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil, Arborio rice, and shallot and cook until aromatic, 1-2 minutes.
Add white wine and stir, scraping bottom of pot, until mostly evaporated, 1-2 minutes.
Add 1 cup boiling broth to pot with rice. Rice should just be covered by broth. Stir constantly until nearly all broth is absorbed.
Finish the Risotto
Add ½ cup boiling broth and stir constantly until broth is nearly all absorbed. Repeat this process, stirring constantly, 18-20 minutes.
Taste risotto as you cook, checking for tenderness. When rice has no more "bite" or crunch, it's done. There may be broth left.
Remove pot from burner and stir in butter, cheese, and sage (to taste, reserving a pinch for garnish). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Finish the Dish
Stir butternut squash into risotto.
Plate dish as pictured on front of card, garnishing with candied walnuts and reserved sage. Bon appétit!