Monday, January 10, 2011

Butternut Squash and Spinach Risotto

I had leftover squash from last week's pasta recipe, so I started looking around for a recipe for butternut squash risotto that wouldn't be too predictable. I finally combined several online recipes, using this one from Epicurious  as my base, to come up with this version.

In the past when making risotto it always came out lovely, but always took much more liquid and much more time to cook than what was listed in the recipe. This time I made the recipe in a wide, flat pan (see the picture) instead of my usual medium pot and this appears to have solved the problem.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Risotto 

Ingredients (for 2 large portions, or 3-4 smaller ones): 
- about 1/2 pound (250 grams) peeled butternut squash, cut into small chunks.
- A few teaspoons of olive oil, or olive oil spray
- 4 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 tbsp (15 grams) butter
- 3/4 cup risotto rice (arborio)
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- handful of parsley, finely chopped
- several large handfuls of spinach leaves or baby spinach
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional) 
- For seasoning - salt, pepper, cumin.


1. Heat oven to 400 F/200 C. Place the diced squash pieces in a baking tin, and toss in olive oil, salt and pepper (I used an oil sprayer to spray a thin coat of oil on the pieces). Roast the squash in the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the pieces are tender, but not falling apart.

2. When the squash is just about ready, bring the broth to a light simmer in a medium pot.  In a wide pan such as the one in the picture, melt the butter over medium heat, and add the onion, cooking until it softens. Add the garlic, parsley and rice and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.

3. Ladle in about 1/2 cup of broth and cook at a simmer, stirring frequently, until the broth has been thoroughly absorbed into the rice. Continue doing this until the rice is tender but still with a little bite to it and the mixture is creamy looking.

4. Stir in the squash and cheese and season with salt, pepper and cumin to taste. Pile the spinach on the risotto and continue cooking while stirring until the spinach completely wilts into the dish.


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