Butternut Squash and Spinach Risotto

We love risotto in this house.  Usually we eat it plain but it is a blank canvas that can be used to create so many different flavor combinations.  Since our CSA has started our menu reflects what’s been in our share for the week.  Lately we have had lots of greens so in went the spinach.  I had also roasted some butternut squash on a cool morning and tossed that in as well.  It was delicious.

Other flavors we add are sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, any vegetable puree, the ideas are limitless.

Basic Risotto

1 cup rice (yes, arborio is the best but you can use regular white rice too)

3 T butter or olive oil

1 onion diced finely

4 or 5 cloves of garlic (you can use less if you aren’t trying to ward of vampires)

3 cans chicken broth

2 T butter

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter (or olive oil) in a large saute pan.  Add onions and saute until translucent and just barely beginning to brown.

Add rice and then garlic.  Stir to incorporate.  I hate burnt garlic so I am always careful to add it at the very last moment.  If you want to toast your rice, do so and then add the garlic or it will get burnt while the rice is toasting.  Add 1 can chicken broth, stir and bring to a simmer. 

Do not cover.  Continue simmering and add more broth when the first addition has evaporated down.  Don’t let it evaporate completely because then it will burn but the idea is to keep adding liquids slowly while it is cooking.  I always use a different amount of chicken broth because my heat levels seem to always be different.  If you run out of chicken broth use water.  Keep adding broth until the rice is no longer crunchy but cooked through and al dente.  You don’t want it mushy and you don’t want it to be crunchy either.

If you want to add any other vegetables, now is the time.  It is best if they are already cooked.  Although the spinach was fresh and it just melted into the hot rice as I stirred.

Turn off the heat and stir in butter and Parmesan cheese.  Serve as a main course or as a side.

Enjoy,  Courtney


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