Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Butternut Squash & Peas Risotto 

(with grilled chicken breast)

4 Servings

(Topping with Baby Arugula adds bites of lovely favor to enhance the chicken.)


1 Shallot (finely minced)
2 Large Cloves of Garlic (finely minced)
2T Olive Oil
2T Butter
1 & 1/2 Cup Arborio Risotto Rice
1/2 Cup White Wine
4 Cups (32 oz.) Chicken Bone Stock (Chicken Stock or Chicken Broth)
1 & 1/4 Cup of Chopped Butternut Squash (1/4" cubes)
1 & 1/4 Cup Thawed Peas
Freshly Ground Black Pepper (Taste before adding each few rotations/grinds.)
3/4 Cup Freshly Grated Real Parmesan Cheese
Sea Salt (Tasting is very important before adding more.)
Fresh BabyArugula 

2 T Olive Oil
4 Thin Chicken Breasts or 2 Regular Breasts Butterflied 
2 more T Butter & 2 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary 



~ Cut Butternut Squash in half (on it's side, as shown in photo of ingredients above). Use the top half (narrow half) which does not have seeds. Cut the the top stem section off, as well. Now you have more of a cylinder.

~ Set the bottom cut end on the cutting board, and thinly slice off the peel/skin with a sharp knife, using downward cuts and working your way around the squash.

~ Cut (downward) 1/4" slices. 

~ Place a couple on top of one another and Cut 1/4" matchstick cuts (1/4" strips)

~ Cut the 1/4" strips into 1/4" cubes.


1.) Heat the 32oz of Chicken Stock or broth in a large pot on the stove, & keep on low.
2.) Heat a large skillet on the stove over Medium heat. When hot, add the Oil, Butter, Minced Shallots & Garlic. Stir until lightly translucent. (approx. 2")
3.) Stir in the 1 & 1/2 Cup Arborio Rice, & continuing "stirring and folding" all rice until every grain is coated and becomes almost translucent. (approx. 4 ")
4.) Stir in 1/2 Cup of White Wine, and let it absorb into the rice for approx. 2 " minutes (while stirring).
5.) Stir in 1 Cup of the Warm Stock & the 1 & 1/4 Cup chopped Butternut Squash.
6.) As the rice absorbs the stock, add another ladle of stock (approx. 1/4 Cup) & Stir. 
7.) Continue to add a ladle of stock (1/4 Cup) every 2 minutes as the rice absorbs the stock.

The rice should always stay fluid & be slowly stirred as it absorbs the broth into each grain. If the rice is absorbing the broth faster, then reduce the heat slightly. **

(continued in step 9)

If you are serving Chicken Breasts with the Risotto, you should consider the timing & probably begin the chicken after the risotto has been cooking for 10 minutesChicken should take approx. 5 minutes to cook & 3 minutes to rest. 
However, don't forget to tend to the Risotto during this time.

8.) Cooking the Chicken Breasts: 
Heat a cast iron grill skillet over Medium-High. When hot, add 2T of Olive Oil. 
Salt & Pepper both sides of the Chicken Breasts liberally.
Sprinkle a light dusting of Onion Powder and Garlic Powder on each side.
With tongs, place the chicken in the oiled skillet. If you do not hear the searing sound, then wait for the skillet to heat more. If it splatters and is too hot, reduce heat to medium until it stops.
Once you place the chicken breasts into the pan, do NOT move them until they easily release after approx. 2 minutes, to lock in juices.
Thin Chicken Breasts will take approx. 2 minutes to sear on each side.

During this time, continue to stir the risotto every 2 minutes, adding broth.
Add 1 & 1/4 Cups Thawed Peas to the Risotto 

Then flip the chicken the 3rd time, creating the cross hatch grill marks & baste every several seconds with Butter and a sprig of Rosemary, until the internal temperature is 165 degrees, 

Remove the chicken from the skillet to a cutting board, & cover.*** 
It should rest until the risotto is done (allowing it to become juicier before cutting). 

9.) Finishing the Risotto:
As you are nearing the end of broth, taste the risotto. 
The Butternut Squash & Peas should be cooked but not mushy. 
Check to see if the rice is still a bit too firm or if it had a slight bite to it (al dente). This is how it should be. It should not cook too long or be stirred so much at this point to become mushy. 

If it is Al Dente, add the last ladle of broth & 1/2 Cup of the Parmesan Cheese, stirring well. Without making the rice mushy, make sure that it is all incorporated and creamy. 
Add a few rotations of freshly ground Pepper. 
Taste, and add more if desired. 
Taste for the Wine, Butter, Butternut Squash, Peas, Parmesan Cheese, Salt, Pepper & Creaminess. If the flavors are not amazing, add a pinch salt, but stir well and keep tasting before adding more. 
In the rare situation that the consistency is too thick, you can add 2T of butter, more broth (or as a last resort a touch of wine & water). But this should not happen if you follow this recipe.


10.) SERVE!
Ladle the Risotto onto the center of lipped plates or flat wide bowls. Giggle Slightly.
Slice Chicken on a Bias and Fan out. 
Place to the right on top of the Risotto. 
Use the last 1/4 Cup of Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese & sprinkle over each serving.
Garnish the center of each with Arugula.

The risotto must be served immediately or it will thicken. 



If using Chicken, remove it from the refrigerator with the other ingredients as you begin prepping, since cold chicken will not cook evenly. However, rinse under cold running water, and pat dry very well using paper towels (so that the water doesn't cause the oil to splatter in the the hot pan). Make sure that you wash all surfaces, your hands, and utensils anytime they come into contact with raw chicken or it's packaging.

Imagine a comparison to human water consumption. You are giving the rice "little drinks of water" (broth) as it gets thirsty, just as we should not get to the point of excessive thirst, nor should we just "chug" the 32oz all at once.

Sources seem to disagree as to whether to cover the meat or not during the resting phase.

"Foil makes it worse

A loose tent of foil is often suggested during resting, especially for turkey. Not only does it not help, it hurts! It does prevent a little heat from escaping, but not much. Foil is a lousy insulator. If you take a dish from the oven that has cooked under foil, in seconds that foil is cool enough to handle. The problem with foil is it traps steam which softens crust and can turn crackly poultry skin to rubber in minutes. And never wrap cooked meat tightly in foil."
~ quote from https://amazingribs.com/more-technique-and-science/more-cooking-science/science-juiciness-why-resting-and-holding-meat-are