causing a stir

Risotto is the dish to make if you want to cause a stir because that is exactly what you will be doing for about a half an hour – stirring.  This is the first time that I have made risotto but definitely not the last.  It has all the makings of a comfort dish, especially this one by Giada de Laurentiis which includes vanilla and butternut squash.  Mmm, creamy.  This is not a dish to be making if you don’t have a kitchen where you can visit with your guests while you are cooking because you will be tied to that pot for a while.  You could always insist on a new kitchen before you make it.  That would probably cause quite a stir.

Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto
from Giada’s Kitchen – New Italian Favorites 
by Giada de Laurentiis


  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large vanilla bean
  • 3 cups peeled cubed (1-inch wide) butternut squash, about 12 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped onion (from 1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives


In a medium saucepan, warm the broth over medium-high heat. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and add them, and the bean, to the broth. When the broth comes to a simmer reduce the heat to low. Add the butternut squash to the simmering broth and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the butternut squash to a side dish. Turn the heat on the broth down to very low and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to of the broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Discard the vanilla bean. Turn off the heat. Gently stir in the butternut squash, Parmesan, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chives. Serve

Note:  I used chicken broth instead of the vegetable broth.

cookbook sundays

14 thoughts on “causing a stir

  1. Looks divine!! MMMM!!!
    Always wanted to try it,but always thought it was too much stirring. My Italian Friend Margaret makes it look so easy
    You should check out her blog.
    Thistle Garden..
    By the way I love Giada..

  2. Looks like you did a fabulous job on your very first risotto! Risotto is one of my go-to meals because it is such a great way of using up leftovers (cheese, meat, veggies) in the fridge. I love this version with the butternut squash. It looks beautiful.

  3. Pierce – Thank you. This is the first time I have joined Cookbook Sundays, but it's got to be good because Brenda is Canadian, eh?

    girlichef and Lyndsay – Yes, it was good. The vanilla is a very subtle and welcome addition. Definitely try it.

    copperthumb – It is worth the stirring. I will check out Thistle Garden. Thanks and I am on still on the fence re: Giada.

    Elisabeth and Deb – Butternut squash just says comfort food and then adding it to the creamy risotto along with the unexpected, but welcome taste of the vanilla makes this a dish worth repeating for sure.

  4. Your risotto looks incredibly creamy and delicious. I love risotto, it's such great comfort food. Thank you so much for linking this up to Cookbook Sundays. My apologies for taking so long to visit you. Have a great week!

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