Kabocha squash has a mild, nutty flavor and smooth texture similar to butternut squash. You will recognize it by its deep green skin and flattened cylindrical shape.
Spiced Kabocha Squash Risotto
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 large vanilla bean
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ‚Öõ teaspoon cayenne
- 3 cups peeled and cubed 1 inch kabocha squash, about ½ of a medium squash
- 2 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon
- ¬æ cup finely chopped onion from 1 onion
- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
- ¬æ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¬æ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- In a medium saucepan, warm the broth and 1 cup of water over medium-high heat. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and add them, and the bean, to the broth. Add the cinnamon and cayenne to the broth as well. When the broth comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to low.
- Add the squash to the simmering broth and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the squash to a side dish. Turn the heat on the broth down to very low and cover to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, in a large heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add ½ cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes.
- Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of the broth to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total.
- Discard the vanilla bean, and turn off the heat. Gently stir in the cooked squash, Parmesan cheese, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl. Garnish with the parsley, and serve immediately.