Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Butternut Squash Risotto

Mushrooms, nuts and herbs are the seasonal ingredients proposed for In the Bag: Cooking the Month of September hosted by A Slice of Cherry Pie. I love this challenge because it gives me a reason to search through my many cookbooks and magazines for something that has all the ingredients and is something I want to cook. I was having a hard time though and always seeming to find recipes with two out of the three. And just when I decided I was either just going to add the third ingredient to one of those recipes or make stuffed mushrooms, I found this recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto in the September/October 2010 issue of Clean Eating magazine. It has mushrooms (I used a chef's mix), sage and thyme for the herbs, and walnuts for the nuts. Yeah!

In the past I haven't been a big fan of making risotto. It takes long and you have to stand and stir over the hot stove which kind of sucks. But this time I had some patience and was ready to give it another try.

I have made something similar to this before - Butternut Squash Risotto with Pesto - but I didn't get how to work with squash at that time and used the frozen stuff. One of the appealing things about making this recipe is that it is published along side an article all about how to pick, prepare and cook various types of squash! And now it seems like such as waste of money to me to spend on the frozen already prepared stuff. There are so many funky looking types of squash out there and this fall I plan to play with them a bit and learn how to handle them and use them in foods. They are super cheap and super healthy!

Butternut Squash Risotto
Serves 4. Makes about 6 cups.

3 cups peeled, diced fresh butternut squash
Extra-virgin olive oil or olive oil cooking spray
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups low-sodium organic chicken broth
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, sliced (2 cups)
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp fresh sage, minced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas (thawed if frozen)
1/4 cup shredded fontina or Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat the over to 425°F. Toss squash with a little oil or mist with cooking spray; season with salt and pepper. Spread squash in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Set squash aside.

Meanwhile, bring broth to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat; keep warm.

While broth is heating, saute onion in 1 tbsp oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute until they start to soften, 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute more. Add rice and stir to coat with oil and vegetables.

Add ½ cup warm broth; simmer and stir with a wooden spoon until liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Stir in another ½ cup warm broth; simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is almost all evaporated. Continue adding broth in ½-cup increments, adding more only after previous addition has been absorbed. Taste rice after three-quarters of the broth has been added. Rice is done when it's tender but still slightly firm and white in the very center (not chalky). Continue adding broth until only ½ cup remains.

Add thyme, sage, peas and cheese to pan with last ½ cup broth; stir until cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat before all liquid is absorbed. Gently fold in cooked squash and walnuts. Season risotto with salt and pepper. Garnish with additional thyme, if desired, and serve warm.

Nutritional information per 1½-cup serving (as printed in magazine):
Calories: 359, Total Fat 9g, Sat. Fat: 2.5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.5g, Carbs: 60g, Fiber 6g; Sugars: 4g, Protein: 14g, Sodium 163 mg, Cholesterol: 8mg

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you intentionally make your risotto so dry? Just seems that a creamy risotto that oozes a bit when plated is what most cooks go for.