Winter Squash and Wild Mushroom Risotto

I grew some Tetsukabuto squash in my garden this year. This is a variety developed in 1960 in Brazil. One plant produced more than thirty 5-7lb squash! The vine grew up our apple and pear trees, and a few squash remain out of reach. You may use any winter squash for this.

For this risotto, I cut a squash in half, removed the seeds, rubbed it with walnut oil, and added salt and pepper. I roasted it for about an hour in a convection oven at 325F. I scooped the soft flesh from the skin into a bowl and set aside. It made about 4 cups.

For the risotto, I chopped 4 cups of wild Grifola frondosa (Maiitake or Hen of the Woods) mushrooms, minced 1/2 a large yellow onion, and 5 cloves peeled garlic. Heat 2T butter and 2T walnut oil in a skillet. Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Salt and pepper (I used black truffle salt to accentuate the mushroom flavor) Saute until golden brown and tender.

Add 2 cups Calasparra rice (any short grained rice is OK, but I keep this Spanish paella rice on hand). Stir until the rice toasts a bit. Add 1/2 cup semi-sweet white wine to the pan and continue cooking until the wine evaporates. Add 1/2t minced thyme.

Add the soft cooked squash flesh to the pan and stir to break up any large pieces. It should be a mix of smoothly mashed and small pieces. Now add 6 cups of roast pork stock (chicken or other stock is OK, too). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.

Stir to make sure the rice cooks slowly and evenly. Taste the rice to judge the texture. When it is close, but not quite done, stir in 1T white truffle oil and 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Taste and adjust salt. Finish with a dash of heavy cream to meld the squash into the rice.

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