Butternut Squash Risotto

Gluten Free Butternut Squash Risotto

When I reviewed the long list of items I could no longer eat on a gluten free diet, it was comforting to know that one of my favorite dishes, risotto, was still fair game.  Risotto is one of my long time favorites because it is a really filling comfort food that you can keep relatively healthy by making at home. Restaurants typically add a lot more butter than this recipe calls for and who knows how much cheese.  I start with a small amount of olive oil (which is a healthy fat) just to cook up the squash, but save the butter for the end where I can actually taste it.  Just a little bit goes along way to give risotto the creamy texture it is famous for.  Another tip for keeping risotto a healthy gluten free supper option is to add in tons of veggies; greens, peas, and asparagus are some of my favorites. 

Most people might not think of risotto as a weeknight supper, but it isn’t as complicated or time consuming as you might think.  The rice actually cooks, similar to other white rice, in only about 20 minutes.   The idea of butternut squash risotto certainly isn’t a new one, but I think my twists make it unique and easier to cook up on a weeknight. Caramelizing the onions on your prep day not only adds a ton of flavor, but saves weeknight time chopping and cooking since diced onions are a basic starter ingredient in any risotto.  Another time saver I figured out with some testing is that the butternut squash cooks in a similar amount of time as the rice, no extra steps required. Make a big batch of this tasty supper and enjoy for lunch later, or reduce the amount of rice/stock to make a supper for two.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 cups of diced butternut squash                                                                
  • 2 cups of arborio rice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 4 cups of low or no sodium chicken or veggie stock (simmering)
  • 1/2 cup caramelized onions
  • 3 cups of organic baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup of grated romano cheese, plus more for topping

Prep Day:

  • Caramelize onions
  • Dice squash
                          

 

Directions: (serves 6)

  • Start by bringing your stock up to simmer, so that it is ready when you need it
  • Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil on medium high heat in a shallow pan with plenty of surface area for the rice to cook evenly
  • Add the diced squash, flavor with a pinch of salt and pepper and start cooking. The squash will finish cooking with the rice- you are just giving it a head start here (4 minutes)
  • Scoop in the rice and toast  to bring out the nutty flavor (2 minutes)
  • Add chopped garlic and warm through to combine (1 minute)
  • Pour in the white wine and turn down the heat to medium-low
  • Once the wine has absorbed, begin adding the warm stock about a ladleful at a time, and stirring occasional until the liquid is absorbed.  Most people think you need to stir the rice non-stop, but that actually can force it to break down and get mushy.  Just stir enough so it doesn’t stick, I often just give the pan a shake instead of stirring.
  • Repeat this process, which should take about 18-20 minutes (keep an eye on the timer, if you are taking much more time than this the rice will start to overcook and risotto should still have a bit of a bite)
  • As you are nearing the end of the liquid, add the caramelized onion and spinach.  Combine until the onions are distributed throughout and the spinach has wilted (about 2 minutes)
  • Melt in the butter and grated cheese
  • Test for seasoning and top with a bit more grated cheese to serve

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3 Comments to “Butternut Squash Risotto”

  1. tiffany says:

    I’m going to try making this risotto this week for supper — yum! Thanks for the inspiration — great directions and beautiful photos!
    Wondering: how’d this dish go over with Tyler? -t

  2. Jackie says:

    This was the most amazing dish ever. I loved every drop of it and could have continued eating the entire bowl :) .
    Great recipe and really easy to make.

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