The only thing better than one acorn squash recipe this time of year is two acorn squash recipes. Right now I’m making risotto colla zucca along with a stuffed acorn squash for my family. These are my all-time favorite ways to incorporate this winter vegetable into a quick dinner before the vernal equinox hits and spring is finally in the air. This year, it couldn’t come any quicker for those of us in NYC!
Acorn squash is distinctive for its longitudinal ridges and sweet, yellow-orange flesh. A sturdy, sharp knife is essential to slice the squash in half before removing its fibers. Very carefully follow a ridge from stem end to the point rather than slicing across the diameter. I like to save the seeds to toast for snacking just as you would pumpkin seeds.
My secret to nailing the perfect risotto is allowing the rice time to toast in the pan prior to adding liquid. Once it becomes opaque after three or four minutes, that is the time to hit the pan with some dry white wine. Patience is key when adding stock. Remember not to rush it and, rather, give the rice time to absorb the liquid. It must be added one ladleful at a time to create the creamy yet al dente mouth feel I love so much about risotto.
The recipe for stuffed acorn squash is as simple as it gets: breadcrumbs for texture, greens for some freshness and Parmigiano-Reggiano for a true Italian touch. It’s the perfect farewell dish to winter.