Recipe For Cumin and Saffron Flavored Butternut Squash Risotto


If Fall had a flavor, it would be butternut squash. I know pumpkins are the symbol of Halloween, and sweet potatoes are a staple of Thanksgiving meals, but to me, nothing compares to the earthy sweetness and versatility of butternut squash. It works perfectly in salads, soups, side dishes, and, in the case of this risotto, as a main course.

To prepare this dish, I just diced and roasted some butternut squash and mixed it with a pot of risotto I infused with saffron. It’s a simple, no frills preparation that really highlights the flavor and texture of the butternut squash.

1. Info for Cumin and Saffron Flavored Butternut Squash Risotto

  • Cook Time: 50 min
  • Total Time: 1 hr 30 min
  • Servings: 6
  • Calories: 230 kcal

2. Ingredients for Cumin and Saffron Flavored Butternut Squash Risotto

  • 1 (2-pound) butternut squash
  • 1/2 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 shallots, finely minced
  • 1 cup melon-seed shaped pasta
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 6-1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, warm
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese powder (see tips)
  • 2 tablespoons dill, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons mushroom seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds, slightly toasted

3. Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Peel and dice the butternut squash into 1-1/2-inch cubes. In a bowl, toss the diced butternut squash in molasses, light corn syrup, salt, a tablespoon of olive oil, cumin powder and paprika.
  3. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Place the butternut squash pieces without crowding them. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until slightly browned and softened.
  4. In a mortar and pestle, grind the saffron threads. Add about 1/4 cup of water. Reserve about a tablespoon of the resulting liquid.
  5. In a deep saucepan, sauté the minced garlic cloves in the remaining oil until golden. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and add the shallots; stir until light golden. Add the pasta and rice. The butter should coat all the grains. Add 1 cup of warm broth and the saffron liquid. Stir constantly.
  6. After bringing the liquid to a boil, add parmesan cheese powder and lower the heat to medium-low for about 15 to 20 minutes. Season with mushroom powder and a tablespoon of dill. Check the liquid and periodically add 1/4 cup of stock when all the liquid is absorbed. Let simmer for another 15 minutes.
  7. When the rice is almost cooked, add the butternut squash, remaining saffron liquid and the rest of the butter. Adjust the seasoning with more salt (if necessary) and pepper. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle more dill and toasted pumpkin seeds and serve immediately.
  9. Bon appétit!

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