I love risotto but was always a little nervous about making it at home. I’ve heard it can be time-consuming and a little tricky. All I could picture was me standing in my kitchen for an hour resulting in rice stuck to the bottom of the pan! Luckily, my first risotto-making experience turned out great and it’s not as complicated as I expected!
There are so many variations to risotto but since my parents gave me two butternut squashes, I thought I’d incorporate that winter vegetable into the dish. I decided to add spinach too, for some greens.
I found the process to be pretty simple but it does take a bit longer than the average rice or pasta dish. I my opinion, the extra time is worth it! This dish was pretty darn tasty and was hearty without being too heavy. This makes a great meal or side dish…especially for a cold winter night!
Butternut Squash and Spinach Risotto
(loosely based on a recipe by Ina Garten – but mine’s healthier!)
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 Tsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3 c. low sodium chicken broth
1/4 stick butter, unsalted
1 shallot, minced
3/4 cup Ariboro rice
1 1/2 c. fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 fresh grated Asiago cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400*. Put butternut squash on a cookie sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, turning squash at least once. Once squash is soft, mash well and set aside.
2. While squash is roasting, heat chicken broth in small sauce pan on medium heat.
3. In a saute pan, melt butter. Add shallots to butter and saute until shallots are clear.
4. Add rice to butter mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes.
5. Add 2/3 c. of the chicken broth to the rice mixture and cook, stirring often until no liquid remains.
6. Continue adding chicken broth 2/3 c. at a time following step 4, until rice is al dente. This should take about 25 minutes.
7. Take rice of heat and mix in butternut squash, spinach and cheese.