Alicia writes Jaybird; she’s an AmeriCorps volunteer who loves to eat but can’t afford to try every new restaurant and type of cuisine. Instead of spending all her hard-earned cash paying other people to cook for her, she spends it as frugally as possible making delicious meals at home. Be friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
Can you blame me for being in a fall food frenzy this month? With Thanksgiving around the corner, there are endless options for holiday recipes with flavors of cranberry, squash, and maybe a sprinkle of sage. This butternut squash risotto contains two of my favorites: butternut squash and curry!
My friend Emily introduced me to risotto, a creamy dish of slowly cooked Arborio rice, stock, and dreamy mix-ins (yes, butternut squash is dreamy). This gluten-free recipe can easily be made vegan by using an appropriate vegetable stock in place of chicken. I had to throw a little chard in there too, because it’s not a meal if there isn’t something green on my plate, but you can easily leave this out. While risotto does take some time to make, one big pot will last as a side dish for several meals–and trust me, you’ll want to have enough for seconds and thirds!
Butternut Squash Risotto – Serves 4 as a main dish; 8 as a side
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60-80 minutes
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
finely ground sea salt
1 cup Arborio rice
4-5 cups chicken or vegetable stock, divided
1/2 teaspoon hot curry powder, adjust to taste
a pinch of cayenne pepper
optional: one bunch chard, stems removed and leaves chopped
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. While this warms up, get all your peeling and chopping done. Add butternut squash and onion to the pot with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook for about ten minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion and squash have softened and started to brown.
Lower the heat to medium and add rice, stirring frequently and cooking for one minute or until the rice begins to appear translucent. Add half a cup of stock and cook, stirring, until it has been absorbed completely. Season with curry powder and cayenne.
Continue adding stock, half a cup at a time, while stirring frequently. Risotto takes awhile, so be patient and let the stock evaporate almost completely with each half cup. Adjust seasonings to your taste as you go.
The finished rice should be al dente (slightly firm), yet creamy and tender. When the rice is almost there and you have added all the stock needed, add the chopped chard to the pot, stir, and cover for 1-2 minutes. Uncover, serve, and savor!