Butternut Squash Risotto

Prep time: 10-40 min, Cook time: 1.5 hours

Well, summer is officially over and this dish just made my whole house smell like fall šŸ˜Š.

Risotto is definitely a labor if love, but some things are just worth the extra effort. It is normally made with arborio rice, which is a short grain white rice. This is normally what I’ve made risotto with before, but I have a huge bag of short grain brown rice that I need to use up, so wanted to give this healthy spin a try.

I still cooked the risotto traditionally by adding hot stock one ladle at a time until the liquid absorbed. Using stock instead of water gives it a much richer flavor. I used store-bought veggie stock and made a mix of half stock, half water just to control the saltiness a little better. You can certainly use all stock if you prefer. I also add a few grinds of salt and pepper as I go so it all cooks in.

I was a little nervous about using brown rice, but it turned out great!! I did have to add a little more liquid than normal and it took a little longer to cook. If using traditional arborio rice I would cut the liquid down to about 6c and the cooking time to 2-3 min per ladle.

My fall twist on this Italian classic is butternut squash mixed with sage, rosemary and Herbs de Provence.

Cutting squash can be intimidating at first. I think the first time I cooked with it I peeled it first and could not get a good grip to get it chopped up. What a mess!!

You definitely want to use a large, sharp knife. I find it easiest to chop both ends off first, then cut the neck into small disks. Then I cut each round disk in half, cut around the edge to get the skin off and chop.

Leave a tiny bit before you get to the round part with seeds and then cut that in half.

Scoop out the seeds and save for roasting!

The round parts of the squash can either be sliced and chopped or roasted whole and used for serving. Just drizzle some olive oil and seasonings and cook face down.

I like to get my butternut squash all ready before I even think about starting the risotto. This way I can just relax and pay attention to my rice. Plus, the rice takes longer to cook so it helps with timing it all out together if the squash is ready and then just goes in a little later.

After the squash is done roasting and the rice is almost done, then it’s time to pull it all together.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 3T olive oil, divided
  • 2t Herbs de Provence
  • 1t ground sage
  • 1t dried rosemary
  • 2c short grain rice
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1T garlic
  • 1c dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 4c vegetable stock
  • 4c water
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Peel and chop butternut squash into 1 inch cubes (see tips above), reserve seeds for later.
  2. Toss with 2T olive oil, then sprinkle the Herbs de Provence, ground sage, dried rosemary and sea salt on top and toss again. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400Ā°. Wait until its preheated to put the squash in, since the rice takes longer to cook. Roast the squash for about 35-40 min, stirring halfway through.
  4. While the oven is heating up, warm the stock and water in a medium saucepan over low to medium heat.
  5. Pour remaining 1T olive oil into a large flat bottom pan or stock pot over medium heat.
  6. Add onion to the olive oil and sautee until the onion becomes translucent to slightly browned.
  7. Add garlic and cook for another min.
  8. Add 2c dried rice to the onion/garlic pan and cook for 1-2 min.
  9. Add wine to the rice. Cook 3-4 min until the liquid is mostly absorbed.
  10. Add the hot stock 1-2 ladles at a time, cooking for about 3-4 min each time. Add sea salt and pepper to taste as you add stock. When the liquid is nearly fully absorbed, then add the next 1-2 ladles. Repeat this until the rice is tender and there us only 1 ladle left. Taste test to make sure rice is at desired doneness and has enough salt/pepper.
  11. Add roasted squash to the rice, along with a little more salt, pepper and the last ladle of stock. Simmer together for the last 5 min.
  12. If roasting seeds: While the squash is roasting and the rice is absorbing hot stock, clean the squash seeds and pat dry.
  13. Toss seeds with 1/2 t olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. When the squash is done cooking, turn the oven down to 325Ā° and roast the seeds for about 15-20 min, checking every 5 min. Once they start to turn slightly brown, remove from the oven. Sprinkle on top of each finished serving.

This will make about 6-8 servings. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. This will also freeze well.

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