I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to post such an amazing recipe. Risotto, yum! This Bacon and Wild Mushroom Risotto with Baby Spinach has a ton of flavor and is pretty healthy, too.

This recipe comes from the May 2010 edition of Cooking Light. Just looking at the photo made me drool my mouth water. I finally cooked this risotto up a few weeks ago and it did not dissapoint.

Risotto is a fancy name for a rice dish. There are a lot of varieties (from seafood to butternut squash) and normally arborio rice is used. I have used arborio rice in the past which is great, but this time I used a whole grain rice mixture for this recipe. I also used all natual bacon from Trader Joe’s and because you cook the bacon first, there is no added oil or fat.

You may have heard that risotto is difficult to make or it takes to long. While I wouldn’t call this recipe difficult, it does take some time but it’s so worth it. Just turn on some good music and prepare to be in your kitchen for about 30-45 minutes. Between cutting vegetables and stirring the risotto often, this recipe does take a bit of patience. But, the recipe is very straightforward and it’s a great risotto to make for guests – they will  surely be impressed!

A warm risotto dish is great for the fall. Interested in other risotto recipes? Check out my Butternut Squash and Spinach Risotto here.

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!)

Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

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

Preparation:

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.

8. Enjoy!