Winter Squash Risotto with Collard Greens

Recipe from Martha Rose Schulman at the New York Times


1 1/2 lbs. winter squash, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 tablespoons olive oil
ground pepper
1 bunch collard greens, stemmed and washed
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock (or 1 quart stock + 1 quart water)
1 small onion
2 large garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
pinch of saffron (optional)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3 to 4 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped


Preheat the oven to 425º.  Cover a baking sheet with foil or parchment.  Toss the squash with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Spread evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Blanch the collard greens while the squash is roasting by submerging them in salted, boiling water for 4 minutes, and then transferring them to an ice water bath.  Drain and squeeze out the extra water.  Chop coarsely.

Bring the stock to a simmer in the saucepan.  Heat the remaining oil over medium heat in a large, heavy frying pan or wide saucepan and add the onion.  Cooking, stirring, until the onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes, and add the garlic + 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Cook for another minute or so, then add the rice.  Continue to cook, stirring, until the grains of rice are separate.  

Stir in the wine, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.  The wine should not bubble too quickly.  When the wine is mostly evaporated, add the collard greens, 1/3 of the squash and the saffron.  Cook, stirring in a ladleful or two of the simmering stock, just enough to cover the rice.  The stock should bubble slowly.  Cook, stirring often until the stock is just about absorbed.  Add another ladleful of stock and continue to cook in this fashion, adding more stock when the rice is almost dry.  The whole process should take 20-25 minutes.  

Add the remaining roasted squash and another 1/2 cup of stock to the rice.  Stir in the parmesan and parsley, and remove from heat.  Add the freshly ground pepper, and taste.  Adjust salt if needed.  Serve right away in soup bowls or plates, spreading the risotto thin rather than mounding it up.

Note:  You can roast the squash and blanch the greens up to three days ahead of time.