Butternut squash originated in Mexico and Guatemala and is now grown in all parts of the world with Central and South America leading in butternut squash growth.
The Waltham variety of butternut squash commonly grown today, was developed at the Waltham Experiment Station in Massachusetts. This station, which was created to conduct research on the improvement of agricultural crops, was established in 1871 and is the oldest agricultural experiment station in the United States.
This squash is actually a fruit, though it is used as a vegetable while cooking. Nutritionally, this squash is high in soluble fiber and potassium (more than a banana!), vitamins A and C and magnesium. One cup of squash is only 82 calories.
This versatile squash can be used in many different ways from pies, muffins, soups, and side dishes. For a tasty and nutritious snack, roast the squash seeds. This month’s recipe for Butternut Risotto reflects this fruit’s versatility.
– 2 cups cubed butternut squash
– 2 tablespoons butter
– ½ medium onion, minced
– 2 cloves of garlic,minced
– 1 tsp. ground sage
– 1 cup Arborio rice
– ½ cup dry white wine
– 5 cups hot chicken stock
– ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
– salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Remove peel and seeds and place squash into a steamer basket in a saucepan; fill with water to just below the bottom of the basket. Cover, bring to a boil, and steam squash until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain; use a fork to mash squash in a bowl. Note: Instead of steaming, place the peeled squash in a bowl, cover and microwave until tender.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir for two minutes until onion begins to soften, then stir in rice. Continue cooking and stirring until rice is glossy and the onion begins to brown on the edges, about five minutes more.
- Pour in white wine; cook, stirring constantly, until it has evaporated. Stir in mashed squash and 1/3 of the hot chicken stock; reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir until chicken stock has been absorbed into rice, five to seven minutes. Add 1/2 of the remaining chicken stock, and continue stirring until it has been absorbed. Finally, pour in remaining stock, and continue stirring until the risotto is creamy.
- Stir in Parmesan cheese, sage and season with salt and pepper.
Enjoy this great fall dish!