Roasted Honeynut Squash Risotto
- ROAST SQUASH: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds using a spoon. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment. Drizzle the squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Drizzle with maple syrup. Roast the squash for 30-40 minutes or until fork-tender, start on the next step while the squash roasts. When squash is tender, allow it to rest until it’s cool enough to handle, then scoop out the flesh and reserve for later.
- STOCK: In a medium saucepan, heat together the stock and saffron (if using) over medium heat until just boiling, then lower the heat to low so that it just simmers. You want the stock to be warm when added to the rice.
- SAUTE: Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add sage leaves in a single layer. Keep an eye on them until they crisp up, about 30 seconds. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate; save for later. Add the shallots to the pan and cook them with a big pinch of salt for 3-4 minutes then add the garlic and let cook 30 seconds before stirring in the arborio rice. Allow the rice to toast for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, then add the squash flesh and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- RISOTTO: Add 1 cup of stock and push the mixture around in the pan with a wooden spoon. Set a timer for 20 minutes as soon as you add the stock. When most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan, add another ½ cup of stock, stir and continue this process until the timer goes off. Test the rice to see if it needs to be cooked longer, you can let it go for another 5 minutes or until the arborio rice has cooked to your liking. You may not end up using all the stock; I needed 5 cups.
- FINISH: Stir in the gruyere and grated parmesan until combined then finish with the butter. Taste and adjust with more salt and pepper as needed. Serve topped with more shredded Parmesan and the fried sage.