2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped, plus 4 extra sage leaves
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
3 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 cups arborio rice
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in one inch pieces
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup pecorino romano or parmesan cheese (I used a blend)
handful of baby spinach (optional)
1/2 teaspoon white truffle oil (optional)
Combine the chicken broth, water, and the 4 sage leaves, and bring to a boil. Add the butternut squash, and boil gently for about 8 minutes, until the squash begins to soften. Remove the squash with a slotted spoon, reserving the liquid. Set the squash aside and keep the liquid on low heat. Discard the 4 sage leaves.
Melt the butter on medium heat in a nonreactive, nonstick pan. Add the onions and 1 tbsp sage, saute until onions soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the the garlic, cook for another minute.
Add the chicken and cook until it begins to turn white on the outside. Add the rice and stir for about 2 minutes, until the rice is thoroughly coated with butter.
Begin ladling the liquid into the rice pan, about 1 cup at a time. After adding a cup of liquid, gently stir the rice frequently. When the cup of liquid has been absorbed, add another cup and repeat the process.
The cooking time for the risotto (once you begin the ladling) is about 30 minutes. When all the liquid has been absorbed, check the consistency of risotto. It should be tender but still have firmness. If it seems too hard, add additional water and follow the same process until you get to the desired consistency. When the risotto is done, it can’t absorb more liquid, leaving a bit of broth in the pan with the risotto. This helps to mix in the cheese and squash.
Stir in the reserved squash, the cheese, 1 more tablespoon of sage, pepper to taste, and spinach and truffle oil if you’re using those optional ingredients.