Friday, October 28, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto

This morning, Adam and I had to scrape the ice off my car's windows. I don't care that it was ridiculously early in the morning -- it is still October. Which means ice and snow are not allowed.

Better yet, there is a forecast of snow/rain for early tomorrow morning. Which just so happens to be when my Halloween 5k is. Awesome. I mean, 2 miles straight up, then 1 mile straight down in the snow and rain sounds like fun, right? Or not. Why oh why did I sign up for this race again?

This simply ensures that I will need a huge mug of Russian Tea when I finish. Although that would entail needing a thermos. Problem.

Maybe just a hearty bowl full of risotto will suffice when I get home? It's warm, filling, and fall-like. FALL, people, FALL. Not winter. Go away snow.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Adapted from: Cooking Light, October 2011

3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed and peeled butternut squash, divided
2 1/2 cups water
3 1/2 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups Arborio rice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a large saucepan, add 2 cups squash and 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Using an immersion blender (or transferring carefully to a food processor/blender), puree mixture until smooth. Add broth to pan, place back over heat and bring to a simmer; then reduce heat to low.

In a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat, add the rice. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the remaining 1 cup squash, 1 1/2 cups squash mixture, and salt. Cook 2 minutes, or until liquid is almost completely absorbed; stirring constantly. Add 1 cup squash mixture, stirring constantly, until that also is almost absorbed. Add remaining squash mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, reserving 1/4 of a cup, while stirring constantly and letting the liquid almost fully absorb before adding more. Remove from heat and stir in reserved 1/4 cup squash mixture and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle each serving with bacon.

Serves: 5

Butternut squash is one of those things that I really really wished I liked, a lot. Sadly, I'm not really it's biggest fan. The squash flavor in the risotto was there, though not overly pronounced, as the actual squash flavor isn't all that strong. Yet the big mushy chunks of squash hiding out underneath the piles of creamy rice kind of threw me off a bit, and several ended up picked off the side of the bowl.

Honestly, the bacon is really what carries the flavor in this dish. Without it, the risotto turns kind meh, and so-so. Next time I try my hand at a butternut squash risotto I'll probably try a different recipe.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 478g
Amount per serving
Calories 482Calories from fat 116
% Daily Value
Total Fat 12.9g20%
Saturated Fat 5.0g25%
Cholesterol 34mg11%
Sodium 1123mg47%
Total Carbs 71.0g24%
Fiber 3.8g15%
Sugars 1.9g
Protein 18.9g
Vitamin A 180%Vitamin C 29%
Calcium 17%Iron 12%


  1. Very nice. Two suggestions...Please don't boil the squash or waste time peeling. Just split it, seed it and brush it with some EVOO, dust with salt and pepper and roast at about 425 until the skin loosens. When it cools you can peel the skin right off and then chop, mash and/or emulsify. I usually emulsify most and leave some fine diced to fold in at the end. Second: One big mistake most chefs make even in the best of restaurants is that they use chicken stock for every Risotto. You should always use a homemade stock that is as close as possible to the primary ingredient, especially if it does not contain any meat products as a vegetarian may be ordering it. Seafood risotto should get a Fumet, Mushroom a Mushroom etc. In the case of a butternut or other squash risotto I find that a very thin vegetable stock works best and you will also never have to worry about the Chicken Stock overpowering the rest of the risotto particularly with something as delicate and delicious as a butternut squash.

  2. Oh I might have to try it this weekend! I am a huge butternut squash fan and I just got some really yummy bacon too.

  3. My kind of risotto! I love the bacon on top too. Delicious!

  4. Great in concept! AND.... your picture is really pretty :D

  5. Love it. The recipe and the sentiments regarding snow.

  6. Well this recipe certainly looks delicious even if the weather is not.

  7. I know! Bad Ice! Bad Snow! Im sorry the recipe needs a bit of work but I bet it was nice to have something warm to come home to.



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