Healthy Brown Rice Butternut Squash Risotto

Healthy Brown Rice Butternut Squash Risotto

This dish is so stunningly delicious! You will not believe the aromas your kitchen will be filled with! Roasted squash, fried onions, garlic, optional wine, nutty smell of toasted rice and some fragrant sage! Unreal!

This is not a true “Risotto” where you have to spend a long time over the hot stove. After the initial set up and prep, your “Risotto” does its own thing for about 45 minutes. Then all you have to do is assemble it at the end and enjoy! Easy, delicious and healthy!

Ok, let’s get cooking!

Yields4 Servings

 1 smaller butternut squash (2-2.5 pounds)
 olive oil
 kosher salt
 freshly ground black pepper
 1 ½ cups short grian brown rice
 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
 1 yellow onion, diced
 2 garlic cloves, minced
 ¼ cup dry white wine, optional
 3 tbsp butter
 1 cup Parmesan cheese
 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
For optional garnishes:
 ¼ cup chopped walnuts
 20 fresh sage leaves

1

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place the racks on the top third of the oven.

Peel the butternut squash and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Pick about 2/3 of the squash cubes, dry them well with paper towel (will help them caramelize better) and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, some kosher salt and scatter onto a rimmed aluminum baking sheet (do not use Parchment or it won't brown.) Set aside. We will bake these chunks and top our risotto with them. The remaining 1/3 of butternut squash will be cooked together with rice to infuse it with flavour and colour.

2

Heat a bit of oil in a Dutch oven or a large heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent but not browned. Add the reserved 1/3 chunks of butternut squash from Step 1 and cook for another 5 minutes or so until bright orange. Add rice and cook for a minute or two until fragrant (this will toast the rice and make it smell so nutty.) Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the wine and cook for a minute or so until it's mostly evaporated. Be sure to scrape up the bottom of the pot to dissolve all those flavourful bits! You can skip the wine, if desired.

Add 3 cups of chicken (or vegetable) stock. Turn the heat to high and bring this to a boil, stirring occasionally. When it boils, cover, reduce to low and allow to simmer for 40-50 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and rice is very tender.

3

As soon as you covered the rice, move your squash into the preheated oven to roast. It will take around 45 minutes (may take longer if you chopped it into larger chunks.) It should be very tender when tested with a fork, golden brown and caramelized on the outside. After 30 minutes of cooking, flip each squash chunk to caramelize the other side. Remove from the oven when ready.

4

If you are making the optional crisp sage, which is highly recommended, heat a bit of oil in a frying pan (ideally cast iron) over medium heat until very hot. Add sage leaves, ensure they are well coated with oil and cook for a minute or two until they are deep dark green in colour and crisp. Remove to a paper towel.

5

When your rice is ready, remove from heat, stir in butter, Parmesan and 1/2 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock.) Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes (no less!!!) You will notice that the rice will get very creamy and "Risotto-like." You will most likely need to add the remaining 1/2 cup stock (it truly will depend on the exact rice brand you have) - just keep adding a bit of stock to get very creamy and saucy consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Note:
1. Risotto should be quite fluid, and it's exceptionally easy to achieve with this recipe. Just keep adding more stock a bit at a time and stirring until you get creamy, thick, saucy but NOT soupy risotto. When you plate your risotto, it should not stay in a lump, it should spread quite a bit in your bowl, so be sure to achieve that saucy consistency.
2. Stirring the rice for at least 2 minutes is an important step scientifically. We are rubbing and stirring the starch. The more it's rubbed, the creamier your risotto gets. It's that starch that makes the risotto thick yet creamy, soft and saucy. Traditional risotto is prepared with a lot of stirring, this recipe skips most of the stirring, but do not skip the 2 minutes in this step.

6

Divide the rice between 4 bowls, top with roasted butternut squash chunks, walnuts, optional crisp sage and anything else your heart desires. Serve!

Ingredients

 1 smaller butternut squash (2-2.5 pounds)
 olive oil
 kosher salt
 freshly ground black pepper
 1 ½ cups short grian brown rice
 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
 1 yellow onion, diced
 2 garlic cloves, minced
 ¼ cup dry white wine, optional
 3 tbsp butter
 1 cup Parmesan cheese
 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
For optional garnishes:
 ¼ cup chopped walnuts
 20 fresh sage leaves

Directions

1

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place the racks on the top third of the oven.

Peel the butternut squash and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Pick about 2/3 of the squash cubes, dry them well with paper towel (will help them caramelize better) and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, some kosher salt and scatter onto a rimmed aluminum baking sheet (do not use Parchment or it won't brown.) Set aside. We will bake these chunks and top our risotto with them. The remaining 1/3 of butternut squash will be cooked together with rice to infuse it with flavour and colour.

2

Heat a bit of oil in a Dutch oven or a large heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent but not browned. Add the reserved 1/3 chunks of butternut squash from Step 1 and cook for another 5 minutes or so until bright orange. Add rice and cook for a minute or two until fragrant (this will toast the rice and make it smell so nutty.) Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the wine and cook for a minute or so until it's mostly evaporated. Be sure to scrape up the bottom of the pot to dissolve all those flavourful bits! You can skip the wine, if desired.

Add 3 cups of chicken (or vegetable) stock. Turn the heat to high and bring this to a boil, stirring occasionally. When it boils, cover, reduce to low and allow to simmer for 40-50 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and rice is very tender.

3

As soon as you covered the rice, move your squash into the preheated oven to roast. It will take around 45 minutes (may take longer if you chopped it into larger chunks.) It should be very tender when tested with a fork, golden brown and caramelized on the outside. After 30 minutes of cooking, flip each squash chunk to caramelize the other side. Remove from the oven when ready.

4

If you are making the optional crisp sage, which is highly recommended, heat a bit of oil in a frying pan (ideally cast iron) over medium heat until very hot. Add sage leaves, ensure they are well coated with oil and cook for a minute or two until they are deep dark green in colour and crisp. Remove to a paper towel.

5

When your rice is ready, remove from heat, stir in butter, Parmesan and 1/2 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock.) Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes (no less!!!) You will notice that the rice will get very creamy and "Risotto-like." You will most likely need to add the remaining 1/2 cup stock (it truly will depend on the exact rice brand you have) - just keep adding a bit of stock to get very creamy and saucy consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Note:
1. Risotto should be quite fluid, and it's exceptionally easy to achieve with this recipe. Just keep adding more stock a bit at a time and stirring until you get creamy, thick, saucy but NOT soupy risotto. When you plate your risotto, it should not stay in a lump, it should spread quite a bit in your bowl, so be sure to achieve that saucy consistency.
2. Stirring the rice for at least 2 minutes is an important step scientifically. We are rubbing and stirring the starch. The more it's rubbed, the creamier your risotto gets. It's that starch that makes the risotto thick yet creamy, soft and saucy. Traditional risotto is prepared with a lot of stirring, this recipe skips most of the stirring, but do not skip the 2 minutes in this step.

6

Divide the rice between 4 bowls, top with roasted butternut squash chunks, walnuts, optional crisp sage and anything else your heart desires. Serve!

Butternut Squash Risotto

Happens to be Gluten-Free. As with all Gluten-Free recipes, ensure all your ingredients are gluten-free and not cross contaminated. Pay close attention to the ingredient list in wine and stock.

Make it Vegetarian: simply replace chicken stock with vegetable stock.

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