Remember the scene in "Forrest Gump" when Bubba waxes poetic about shrimp, listing all the ways shrimp can be prepared? "There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad..." That's how I am about butternut squash.
I credit the use of celery and vermouth to Jamie Oliver. It's not traditional, but trust me, you'll make it this way from now on.
1/2 large butternut squash or a whole small squash
1/2 medium onion
2 stalks celery
2 cloves garlic
2/3 cup sweet vermouth
1 cup arborio rice
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 quart (32 oz) vegetable broth
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 tablespoon butter
Peel the squash and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Toss with olive oil until well coated and spread in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast in the oven at 375° until soft, about 30-45 minutes, tossing once during roasting.
Pour the vegetable broth in a pan and set over low heat. Do not bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, finely dice the onions and celery and mince the garlic. Heat a large shallow pan over medium-low heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the vegetables and cook until they are soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to smell toasty, about 2 minutes. Add the vermouth and stir until it's absorbed. Do the same with the broth, adding about a 1/2 or 2/3 cup at a time and letting it absorb. Stir often! When you are getting down to the end of the broth, taste the rice and see if it's done. When it's almost al dente, add the peas and heat them through, adding more broth if necessary. Stir in the squash, butter and parmesan, and season with salt and pepper.
This should make 4 very filling portions.
Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
So you've got the other half of the squash left and don't know what to do? Easy, make it into a pasta sauce.
1/2 large butternut squash (I roast the whole squash all at once to use for both recipes)
5-inch spring of fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 lb. multi grain pasta
Roast squash as above. Cook pasta according to directions, reserving a cup of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, finely chop the rosemary and mince the garlic. Saute in a large pan with a tablespoon of olive oil for about a minute. Add the squash and broth. Heat it through and mash the squash to your desired consistency with a fork or potato masher. Let simmer over low heat until pasta is ready. The sauce should be thick, but not pasty.
When pasta is ready, add parmesan to sauce and stir together. Add pasta to sauce and additional pasta water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.