Risotto with Butternut Squash, Sausage and Sage

Serves 8 as an appetizer and 4 as a main course.

Ingredients

4 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces sweet or hot Italian sausage
1 1/3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 1/3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine, optional
2 – 2 1/4 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash
salt to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
  1. Pour the stock into a saucepan, bring to a simmer and keep warm
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the sausage and cook until it begins to brown.  Add the garlic and sage and sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Add the rice and cook for a minute, stirring occasionally.  Add the white wine (if using) and cook until it evaporates.
  4. Add a ladleful of the simmering stock (about 1 cup) and stir until the stock is absorbed.  Add the squash, sprinkle it with salt, and continue stirring, cook for 1 minute. Continue to add stock, a ladleful at a time, until the rice kernels are al dente in the center and creamy on the outside, 20 to 25 minutes in all.
  5. Stir in half of the Parmesan cheese. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the remaining grated cheese.

Note: If you do not want to take a chance of overcooking the squash with the rice and having it break down you can cook it separately in the stock and add it to the rice along with the last addition of stock.

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