RECIPE

Winter-Spiced Butternut Risotto with Sausage, Sage and Walnuts

This recipe originally appeared on the Rachael Ray Show. For more recipes and videos from the show visit RachaelRayShow.com.

Ingredients

For the spice blend:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen or ground fennel
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 whole bulb garlic
  • Olive oil, for drizzling plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 butternut squash, halved and seeded
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
  • 1 pound sweet sausage with fennel, casings removed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups carnaroli or arborio rice
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • A small bunch (about 16) sage leaves
  • About 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Combine spice blend in a small bowl and reserve.

Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and transfer to oven to toast. Remove and raise heat to 425°F.

Cut the top off the garlic bulb to expose cloves. Drizzle with oil and wrap in foil. Place squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and season with about half of the spice blend. Place foil-wrapped garlic and squash in the oven and roast about 40-45 minutes until the garlic is soft and the squash is tender. Cool to handle.

Squeeze garlic cloves from their skins into a small bowl and paste; reserve. Scoop squash flesh from skin and purée in a food processor; reserve.

Bring stock with Parm rind to a simmer in a saucepot over medium heat. Reduce heat and keep warm.

Heat a drizzle of oil, half a turn of the pan, in a round-bottomed pan or a risotto pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage and brown and crumble; remove to plate. Add about 2 tablespoons to the pan along with the onions. Stir to soften, 3 minutes, then add rice and season with remaining spice blend. Toast rice a minute or 2 then add wine. Stir to evaporate then add roasted garlic paste and about 1/3 of the stock. Stir vigorously, letting the stock absorb fully before repeating the process until stock is incorporated, about 18 minutes.

In a small pan, melt butter. Add sage leaves and brown butter while sage leaves crisp; remove leaves to paper towel.

To finish risotto, stir in the squash purée, 3/4 of the walnuts, the brown butter, cheese and half of the sage, crumbled.

Serve risotto in shallow bowls garnished with remaining walnuts and crumbled sage.

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Rachael Ray