Part of the fun of making risotto is coming up with all kinds of ingredients to combine with it. This creamy risotto comes from my friend Terry Rozzi, whose home is Cremona in Northern Italy. Adding delicata squash provides a delicate color and a slightly sweet taste.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small delicata squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¼-inch- dice to make 1 cup (reserve the rest for another use)
1 large leek, white part only, halved lengthwise, well rinsed and finely chopped
1½ cup Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
3½ cups hot chicken broth
Fine sea salt, to taste
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the squash and leek. Cook, stirring often until the squash softens.
2. Stir in the rice and coat it with the butter mixture. Cook, stirring constantly until the rice begins to make a crackling sound, about 4–5 minutes. Do not let the rice brown.
3. Slowly add the wine and stir until the rice absorbs all the liquid. Continue adding the broth and allowing it to be absorbed.
4. Cook until the rice is still firm but cooked through. At this point, the rice should be creamy and fluid. Taste it to correct for salt. Stir in the cheeses and blend well. Serve immediately.