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Easy Butternut Squash and Chicken Risotto

butternut squash chicken risotto

Have you ever made risotto? It’s a comforting and delicious dish made with arborio rice, which you can find at most grocery stores with the regular rice. The starches in the rice break down in such a way that it tastes rich without having to add lots of cheese or cream. It’s a great way to use up leftover bits, too – I love making risotto with random odds and ends in the fridge.

The only thing I don’t like about risotto is the babysitting. Traditional risotto has to have liquid added to it every few minutes during a roughly 40 minute cooking time. The end result is worth it, but it’s not an easy dish to make on a busy night when you’ve got a million other things going on.

The Easiest Way to Make Risotto
I had a hankering for risotto today and wondered how it would turn out if I made it in the oven. I was nervous because I didn’t want to ruin an entire batch, but it worked so beautifully that I don’t know if I’ll ever make it on the stove again. I started on the stove top to get the veggies sautéed a little bit and then just transferred the dish to the oven for 40 minutes while I went and paid bills. That’s it.risotto in the oven

About this recipe
This risotto pairs comforting butternut squash flavor with chicken and sage. It’s a perfect dish for a chilly night, not to mention a good way to use up leftover chicken. Feel free to substitute the butternut squash with whatever pumpkin or winter squash you have laying around.
The walnut/sage topping is optional and not necessary if you’re out of time, but it adds some delicious and flavorful crunch – I highly recommend it. Substitute toasted butternut squash seeds if you’d like.

How to adapt this for baby
This would make a lovely dish for baby, as well as the rest of the family. Just omit the walnut/sage topping, and purée the risotto, adding additional stock or water until desired texture is reached.

Vegetarian?
This could be made vegetarian quite easily – just use vegetable stock and omit the chicken, and be sure to add a more generous splash of wine for flavor.

butternut squash risotto

Yield: about 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Easy Butternut Squash and Chicken Risotto

Let your oven do the work for you with this simple, comfort-food risotto recipe

Ingredients:

1 T. extra virgin olive oil
4 c. diced butternut squash*
1/2 c. minced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 c. arborio rice
5 c. warm chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 c. leftover chopped or shredded chicken (or turkey - perfect for Thanksgiving leftovers!)
sea salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning, to taste
splash of dry white wine (optional)
about a half cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese, very loosely packed

*To peel and dice your butternut squash, get a knife, vegetable peeler, and cutting board. Cut the top and bottom off of the squash so it can stand upright. Peel the squash with your vegetable peeler, then cut it in half long-ways. Scoop the seeds out - reserve for topping if you want. Cut the squash into long strips and then chop.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.
1. Warm the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the butternut squash and onion; sauté for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and rice. Stir to coat in oil and sauté for a few more minutes to lightly toast the rice.
3. Add all of the chicken stock to the dutch oven, cover with an oven-safe lid or foil, and place in the oven for 40 minutes.
4. Return to the stovetop. Stir in the chicken, wine (if desired), and half of the parmesan cheese. (I was out of parmesan and used very sharp white cheddar - it was delicious).
5. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning as desired. I didn't give a specific measurement because I know some people are very sensitive to sage. Dish out and top with remaining cheese.

Walnut Sage Topping
2 T. minced walnuts (or toasted butternut squash seeds, if yours are big enough)
1 clove garlic, minced
a few fresh sage leaves, rinsed, patted dry, and roughly chopped
2 T. extra virgin olive oil

Instructions
1. Warm the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.
2. Add the walnuts and let them begin to toast (about 2 minutes).
3. Add the garlic and sage. Cook until fragrant or sage just begins to look crisp.
4. Drizzle olive oil mixture over bowls of risotto.

   

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