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Chicken-apple Sausage and Butternut Squash Risotto

December 2, 2013

Chicken-sausage, butternut squash risotto

The citizens of Boston are all about to go into hibernation for the next 5 months. Soon we’ll batten down the hatches to hide from the snow, freezing winds, and general miserable-ness that the everlasting season of Winter. Of course there are things I love about this season: skiing, hot cider with bourbon, Christmas trees, watching Rugby flop around on ice like Bambi…but those things lose their entertainment factor around February 1st. And then we still have another 3 months of winter to go.

One of the best things about winter though, is the comfort foods that make hiding away in your apartment and becoming a hermit almost worth it. A while ago I noticed this recipe on Pinterest and though it looked like the epitome of comfort food.

This year I couldn’t go home for Thanksgiving. Work’s been really busy and flights were expensive, plus with Thanksgiving falling so late this year, Christmas is just around the corner. Since Rugby and I were going to be doing our own little Thanksgiving, it didn’t make sense to cook a real Thanksgiving feast for just me (and Rugs doesn’t care for Turkey and its fixings). My plan was to make this risotto. Decadent enough to feel like a real meal, but more sensible as a dinner for one.

The day before Thanksgiving, my  office tends to give us an early dismissal around 11am. My plan was to pick up all my ingredients after work so that I’d be prepped to cook the next day. And while we did get the announcement of an early close, I was hit with a work emergency and didn’t finish up until around 8pm, leaving a grocery trip out of the question. In my ignorance, I never thought a grocery store could be (gasp!) closed on Thanksgiving day. What do people do if they forgot an ingredient?? So dinner on Thanksgiving turned out to be a Tombstone pizza purchased out of a freezer at the Rite Aid and a few glasses of wine. Not ideal.

But I couldn’t get this risotto out of my head. So on Saturday after a cold run along the beach in South Boston with risotto on the mind, I hit up Stop and Shop and purchased all the ingredients. I definitely took some liberties with the recipe I had seen, substituting butternut squash for the pumpkin and using chicken-apple sausage rather than sweet italian sausage and actual apples. Fortunately risotto is sort of like pasta in that it’s easy to substitute ingredients and still follow the recipe for the most part. The risotto turned out great and made more than I anticipated; looks like I’ll have my own version of Thanksgiving leftovers to feast on for lunch this week!

Chicken-Apple Sausage, Butternut Squash Risotto with Gruyere and Sage

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced to ½” cubes
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio Rice
  • ½ cups white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock, very hot
  • 4 chicken-apple sausage links, casings removed and browned
  • ¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 leaves fresh sage, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss butternut squash with 1 T of olive oil, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and pepper. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and place in oven. Cook for about 20 minutes or until slightly browned and cooked through. In a large dutch oven, heat the remaining 2 T of oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté 2 mins until translucent. Add rice and stir to coat. Pour in wine and cook until most of liquid is absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of chicken stock, and cook until mostly absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup of stock. Repeat until stock is all used and rice is creamy, but not mushy. Turn off heat and stir in cheese, squash, and sausage. Fold in chopped sage. Serve immediately and garnish with extra sage.

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