Fall is here! And this means it is time to make soup, eat squash, and bake all sorts of pies. The Colorado weather has definitely cooled off, making the atmosphere perfect for these foods. But, sometimes it can be hard to make all of these delicious things and stay healthy. This is a great fall recipe that Peter and I both think is yummy and comforting but is also healthy. I made this dish a couple of times last year, but even though it was the fall season, Hawaii never felt like fall. I remember a few nights when the tradewinds gusted and felt cool. We put on a sweatshirts and pretended the weather was changing. But no more Hawaii warmth for us – this year it has already snowed!
So, in the spirit of the changing season, I wanted to share this dish and more to come. Here are the ingredients you will need for the Butternut Squash Risotto:
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 (3-lb) butternut squash – peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-in cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Step 1: Place the broth and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Step 2: In the meantime, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the squash cubes adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Stir occasionally until the squash is golden in some spots (about 8-10 minutes).
Step 3: Stir in the thyme. Add 1/2 cup of the broth mixture to the skillet. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender and the broth is evaporated (about 8-10 minutes). Remove the squash from the heat and set aside.
Step 4: Meanwhile, in a heavy pot, cook the onion in 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt over medium heat. Stir and cook onion until it softens (about 6 minutes).
Step 5: Add rice to the onion, stir to coat it with oil, and let it toast for 2 minutes.
Step 6: Stir 1/2 cup of the simmering water-broth mixture into the rice and cook it at a strong simmer, stirring continuously, until the broth is absorbed. Keep adding 1/2 cup of the broth at a time, stirring continuously, and letting the broth completely absorb until you add more. Add broth until the rice is creamy-looking (about 20 minutes total). When you add the broth in small amounts like this, it allows the rice to get perfectly creamy. It should be the consistency of a thick soup and you may or may not use all of the broth.
Step 7: Stir the butter, cheese, and squash into the rice (or if you are like me, add the cheese after you take out your portion!)