This creamy Butternut Squash Polenta offers a prelude to the harvest ahead. Serve it all season long as an accompaniment to hearty autumn meals.
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- ½ cup minced shallot
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 cups reserved butternut squash cooking liquid
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 cup polenta*
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Garnish: shaved Parmesan cheese, fresh thyme leaves
- In a large Dutch oven, bring squash and water to cover to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until squash is fork tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well, reserving 2 cups cooking liquid. Transfer squash to a medium bowl, whisk smooth, and set aside.
- In the same Dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add shallot and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir in reserved cooking liquid, milk, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Slowly stir in polenta. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter, squash purée, and Parmesan. Cook until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately. Garnish with Parmesan and thyme, if desired.
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