Sunday Night Dinner: Risotto with Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese

Because of both Claire and my schedule, being able to sit down and enjoy dinner together does not happen too often. Whether it is because of Claire’s classes or me working evenings, both of us at home around dinner time is rare, not to mention one of us actually having time to make dinner.

However, Sundays have become our days. I have asked not to work Sundays because I knew that we could both be off on Sunday to spend the day together going to church, studying, and simply enjoying each other’s company. And with Claire needing to study on Sunday afternoons, I have ample time to cook dinner for us.

At work on Friday, we had some extra butternut squash that was not going to be used, so I took it home with the idea of using it for Sunday night. I was originally going to make soup, but then I remembered that I had always wanted to try the Butternut Squash Risotto with Gorgonzola Cheese recipe from Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food by Evan Goldstein with recipes by Joyce Goldstein.

If you are already familiar with making risotto, then this recipe is fairly easy. After you sweat the onions, add the butternut squash and cook for one minute, then add your rice and proceed as normal. At the end add the blue cheese as you add the parmesan cheese. Season after you add the cheese since the cheeses will add some saltiness to the dish.

My risotto did not turn out as creamy as I had hoped, and both Claire noted that I slightly undercooked the rice to which I agreed. (Can I just say that I love that my wife can tell that risotto is undercooked?) The butternut squash added a little sweetness to the dish while the blue cheese was subtle enough not to overpower the dish but added a great savory/salty component to the dish.

Considering the recipe came from a book on wine and food pairings, you are probably curious as to what we drank. Mr. Goldstein suggests a Pinot Gris for this recipe. In the book he writes:

There are so many directions to go when pairing this flexible white with food. Here the wine’s balanced acidity is put into play in several ways. First, it will indeed cut through the richness of this dish and refresh the palate between bits. Second, the bright acidity frames the sweet, rich squash and cheese, and, third, any excessive saltiness from the Gorgonzola will be effectively neutralized (p. 98).

We had spent the morning up in Lake Arrowhead, and found a little wine shop called Vino100 and bought a Pinot Gris from Punt Road in Australia. Both Claire and I found the wine to do just what Mr. Goldstein had written about.

With the weather finally starting to cool off and butternut squashes coming into season, I would definitely recommend this dish for a fall evening at home.


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