It’s Foodie Friday!  Henry, our Lab Taster, and I are going to help you master a dish that is intimidating to many.

Creamy, cheesy, delicious and versatile, risotto is a true culinary treat. However, many home cooks fear making this dish believing it’s too complex. Fear not! The true key to the perfect risotto is to keep the rice moving, and add in your liquid a little at a time. It releases the starch in the rice, producing a decadent dish that can be paired with any meat or fish, or served as a meal in itself.

The rice most commonly used in risotto is a short grain rice called Arborio. The ratio for rice-to-liquid is 1:3. For every one cup of rice, use three cups of stock. That’s what this recipe calls for, and will yield about four servings. It will take about 11 minutes of continual stirring to complete this dish — that cook time will increase if you double the recipe. You'll also want to make sure your liquid is hot. Pouring cold liquid into the hot pan reduces the temperature, and stops the absorption leaving you with a sticky risotto.

One of the reasons I love risotto is for its versatility. This version features roasted butternut squash. I have also made it with mushrooms, spring vegetables, shrimp, lobster, roasted corn or anything else I can think of.

It’s another Lab Tasted and Lab Approved recipe made possible by my good friends at Amalfis Bar and Restaurant in Lawrenceville, NJ.  If you have a holiday party coming up, check out their delicious catering menu here.

See the shopping list below, and then watch the video to see how it’s made. (And see how far Henry is able to toss his rice in a slight tasting mishap!)

Shopping List:

  • 1 cup Arborio rice (rinsed and allowed to dry)
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. butter (divided)
  • 2 cups butternut squash (cut into ¼ inch cubes)
  • 2 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper