Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Sugared Walnuts

After two weeks of craziness, a visit from my parents, and a last minute trip home to NC for Easter, I’m finally settling back into a schedule and can share some more recipes! Since I’ve had a few requests for this recipe after I posted a picture on Facebook, I wanted to get this one up first. Last night for dinner I made Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Sugared Walnuts and it was so good! It’s more of a fall dish, but I had a squash I needed to use, and since this weather has been so unusually cold and rainy I figured it was justified. If you know anything about risotto, you know it’s not a quick dish, and this definitely took me a while since there were so many steps (from chopping to toasting to roasting to stirring for 20+ minutes), but the end result was definitely worth it. Plus, I felt super accomplished and I love getting that feeling from cooking. It’s something you made and while you don’t get to keep it forever like a work of art, you get to EAT IT, which is even better! There are few things I appreciate more in life than a good plate of food. 🙂

The recipe I used came from our new book, Cooking Light’s “Pick Fresh Cookbook.” It totally feels like an indulgent meal, but the best part about it is it’s only about 260 calories! I made a few changes, but mostly followed the recipe exactly since it was my first time making risotto. I omitted the pancetta since I’m not a huge fan of bacon in dishes (I know, some might consider it a sin). I also just used brown rice instead of Arborio, since I’m on a budget here and couldn’t justify $8 for a small container of rice. I hope you all enjoy the recipe as much as I did! And get excited to see a post soon about the recipe I created using the leftover roasted squash!

IMG_5176Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Sugared Walnuts
from Cooking Light

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/4 cups uncooked Arborio or brown rice
1/2 cup chardonnay
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh lemon thyme (or 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme plus 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Optional: 1/4 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I didn’t think the risotto needed cheese so I didn’t use this)

Preheat oven to 400°.

Arrange nuts in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes or until toasted, stirring twice. Place nuts in a bowl. Drizzle butter over warm nuts; sprinkle with sugar and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Toss well to coat.

Combine squash and 1 tablespoon oil, tossing to coat. Arrange squash in a single layer on jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until squash is just tender. Remove from pan; stir in garlic. Set aside.

Bring broth and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to saucepan; cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Stir in squash, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Top with nuts and cheese, if desired.

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