Friday, October 28, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto with Leeks and Sage

I know I just posted a recipe for Spaghetti Squash a couple of weeks back but this risotto turned out so well that I couldn’t resist! Plus this winter vegetable is soooo good for you!

Butternut squash is typically pear-shaped, nude or light peach in color with a smooth texture. The flesh is a vibrant yellow-orange and contains seeds and fibers within the fatter or bulbous portion of the vegetable. It is packed full of anti-oxidants, including Vitamin A which keeps the skin and mucous membrane cells healthy. Vitamin A is also essential for vision and some studies show that Vitamin A can prevent and protect against lung and oral cavity cancer.

In addition to Vitamin A, butternut squash is also rich in fiber, and B Vitamins such as folate, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine. Wait! There’s more! This nutrient-dense veggie also contains an abundance of minerals like iron, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus and is known for lowering cholesterol. Eat up!

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
4 cups of vegetable stock *
1 ½ cups of Arborio rice
1-2 leeks, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons to EVOO
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage
½ cup Parmesan cheese (substitute nutritional yeast if vegan)
Sea salt
Black pepper

Pour the vegetable stock in a large pot with a cover and bring to a boil. Add the cubed squash, turn down the heat, and let simmer until the squash is tender when poked with a fork. If the squash is tender before adding it to the risotto, remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl for later use.

Meanwhile, add the EVOO to a large bottom pot, deep skillet, or Dutch oven and sautĂ© the leeks over medium heat for approximately five minutes. Next add the Arborio rice and cook for three minutes or until lightly toasted and covered in oil. Add ½ cup of vegetable stock at a time to the pan of rice and continue to stir until stock is absorbed. Continue until the rice is cooked through, al dente, and a creamy consistency (approximately 30 minutes). Turn off the heat and add sea salt and pepper (to your liking). Mix in the squash, sage, and Parmesan cheese. Stir and serve!

* You may not use all of the stock.

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