This is like a savory rice pudding, creamy and comforting as the nights get cooler. If you can't find a squash this small, of course, feel free to roast a larger one and use 1/2 cup of the flesh.
Make Ahead: The squash can be roasted several days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.
- 1 small (8 ounce) butternut squash, cut in half, seeds removed
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- About 2 cups low-sodium or homemade vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 small shallot, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium clove garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup arborio or other risotto rice
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons shelled unsalted pistachios, toasted (see NOTES)
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted (see NOTES)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a small roasting pan with aluminum foil.
Season the squash halves lightly with salt and pepper, then place them cut side up in the roasting pan. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the squash is tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. (Alternatively, microwave it on HIGH, uncovered, for 4 to 6 minutes or until tender.) Let it cool, then scoop out the flesh; the yield should be about 1/2 cup.
Meanwhile, bring the broth to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cover.
Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed small saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry powder and cook for about 1 minute, stirring to dissolve. Add the shallot and garlic; cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have slightly softened. Add the rice and cook for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring until the grains are evenly coated.
Add 1/4 cup of the hot broth; cook the rice, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan frequently to keep the rice from sticking. Repeat with 1/4 cup amounts, allowing the broth to be absorbed before the next addition; this will take about 20 minutes. You should end up using about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of broth. The rice should be tender but al dente: still slightly firm to the bite inside the rice grain.
Add the roasted butternut squash. Cook for few minutes, until the rice is tender but not mushy, adding some of the remaining broth to keep the risotto moist but not soupy.
When the rice is done to your liking, add the butter, stir to combine, taste and add salt as necessary. Sprinkle with the pistachios and coconut; eat while the risotto is hot.
NOTES: Toast pistachios for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly, in a dry, nonstick skillet over medium
heat, until the nuts have browned evenly. Toast the coconut in a small skillet over medium-low heat until it is light brown and fragrant, stirring often
to prevent burning.
From Food editor Joe Yonan.
Tested by Joe Yonan.
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