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Healthy Risotto with Butternut Squash

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Here is another seasonal recipe for the Thanksgiving holiday! Lucifer sent me this Weight Watchers recipe a few years ago, and it’s one of my favorite “healthy” fall dishes. It’s creamy, cheesy, slightly sweet and guilt-free!

Creamy Orzo Risotto with Butternut Squash (serves 4)

  • cooking spray
  • 2 cups butternut squash, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 TB unsalted butter
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 TB fat free half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

When shopping for your butternut squash, keep in mind that a medium-sized, 2 pound squash will yield approximately 3 1/2 cups of diced squash cubes. To prepare the squash, peel the outside of a whole butternut squash with a sturdy vegetable peeler. Trim the ends and cut it in half lengthwise. Use an ice cream scoop or melon baller to easily scoop seeds and membrane from each half. Alternatively (and to save time), you can buy precut butternut squash at Trader Joe’s and most other grocery stores. Be sure to trim down the pieces to small, even-sized cubes or slices before roasting to allow for better browning. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, toss squash with oil, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on baking sheet, leaving space between squash cubes. Roast, stirring halfway through, until squash is tender and lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add orzo. Stir constantly until orzo begins to smell toasty, about 3 minutes. Add water, broth and thyme and increase heat to bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed. Stir in half-and-half, Parmesan and roasted squash and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. When reheating, add a tablespoon of water or chicken broth to keep moist. I actually had this dish with a Leffe beer (blonde style beer), but it would also go well with a honey wheat or an oaky Chardonnay. Or, if you’re trying to keep healthy, ditch the booze all together! (That will be the one and only time I will say that).

About Kelsey

Kelsey is a food and wine lover residing in Napa, California, where she does marketing for a boutique wine collective. She previously lived in San Francisco for over six years, where her blogging journey began. She loves to cook seasonal meals and experiment with new wine pairings. She has been drinking and learning about wine with her father since she was 14, and cooking in the kitchen with her mother since she was 6. Both of her parents taught her well about seasoning and flavors, and she continues to learn more with every meal that is made.

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