The other day, I took a break from studying for the biggest exam of my life (AKA the national registration exam to finally become a registered dietitian) to cook myself a proper meal. After subsisting off of frozen salmon burgers and eggs for the past few weeks, preparing an actual meal from scratch was a welcomed change.
I was feeling “fancy” and had some frozen butternut squash in the back depths of my freezer, so I decided on butternut squash risotto. Risotto is awesome, because a small amount produces a large volume, which is great when you’re feeding a hungry group of people (or hungry single lady whose been studying all day!). Many people make risotto out to be a complicated, time-consuming dish to make, but it’s really simple and pain-less! Although it requires constant stirring and attention to prevent burning, I made this recipe within about 30 minutes start to finish.
Most risotto recipes out there go heavy on the butter, wine and cheese. However, I’ve found through experimentation, a small amount of all these ingredients results in just as good of a product with fewer calories and fat! The addition of vegetables (in this case butternut squash, spinach and onion) ups the nutritional value even further by adding a healthy dose of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Be sure to choose reduced-sodium broth to keep the sodium levels in check. This dish can be served as a side or up front and center as a main dish. I like topping mine with some sort of protein such as scallops, shrimp or chicken. If your looking to switch it up, be sure to check out my other risotto recipe!
Butternut Squash Risotto
½ T olive oil
1 T butter
¾ C Arborio rice
3 C reduced-sodium chicken broth*
¼ C dry white wine
½ C onion, diced
1 C butternut squash, cut into chunks
1 ½ C spinach, torn
½ C parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
*may substitute reduced-sodium vegetable broth for vegetarian version
Heat a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat. Add butter, oil, onion and squash. Sauté until onion is cooked through and transluscent, about 3 minutes. Stir in rice. Add wine and stir until wine is fully absorbed. Add 1 ½ cups of the broth and continuously stir until absorbed. Continue to add the remaining broth, small amounts at a time. Make sure to stir regularly to avoid burning the bottom. Once all the liquid is added, turn off heat and mix in parmesan cheese, seasoning and spinach. Enjoy!