Round 3 of National Cookbook Month: Butternut squash risotto & arancini! Being Japanese and growing up in Japan, I love rice in all forms. That being said, I don’t remember ever ordering risotto in a restaurant. I’ve made risotto once and while it was good, I just prefer pasta. So then why did I choose this recipe to review? Two summers ago, Tristan and I went to Canada and found Riders Pizza in Cumberland. Tristan had arancini for the first time and was blown away, so I just had to try making them at home!
So this is a two-day process: risotto on day one and arancini on day two. So to make the butternut squash risotto, start by sautéeing the onions and butternut squash in a sauce pan.
Add the rice and garlic and sautée for just a minute. If you read this post or this post you know I’m not the biggest fan of garlic right now. The recipe says to add two cloves of garlic, so I added one clove semi-crushed and took it out before serving. This way, I’m getting the aroma of garlic but not consuming it. Add white wine and vegetable broth little by little, until the rice soaks up all the liquid.
This butternut squash risotto was incredible. It’s creamy, it’s comforting, and it was the perfect lunch on a cold day. The recipe yields 4 servings of risotto but suggested I save half to make arancini the next day. And while it was filling, it was hard not to go back for seconds.
I kept the leftover risotto in the fridge to chill overnight, then rolled them up into balls the next day. I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, except I didn’t have any smoked mozzarella so I put some shredded mozzarella in the center of each ball.
I’m not sure what happened, but these babies completely collapsed in the oven. Arancinis are generally deep-fried… was oven-baking the problem? Or maybe because I used shredded mozzarella instead of cubed? I’m not sure, but it was disappointing. Especially since the risotto on day one was so amazing!
I managed to roll them back up into round-ish balls using my hands and served them with some grated parmesan and simple marinara sauce.
Well, they aren’t pretty but they sure were delicious. Whether you enjoy just the butternut squash risotto, or go all out and make the arancini the next day, this should be on your to-make list! Tristan and I had the same opinion about the risotto and arancini; we love them both, but the surprise factor was bigger for the risotto because we didn’t expect it to be so amazing. It was so good that we started brainstorming other flavors of risotto we’d like to try at home.
By the way, it was National Pumpkin Day on Thursday (it’s already Friday as I write this). I guess butternut squash is technically not a pumpkin… but you could celebrate by making this dessert or this pasta!