Baked Risotto. It has all of the creaminess, all the warmth, all of the richness you want in a comfort dish, but way too much work. Not true anymore thanks to the trusty Dutch oven!
This recipe is
8 WW Freestyle Points*
Gluten Free Dairy Optional Nut free
*8 Freestyle points is based on recipe as is. Replacing butter with margarine will drop the recipe to 7 points.
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- 2 tbsp butter
- 4 – 5 sage leaves
- 2 (generous) cups cubed butternut squash
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (omit if dairy free)
- Preheat oven to 425.
- On stove top, place Dutch oven over medium heat. Melt butter. When butter is about half melted, add sage. Cook until fragrant (about 3 minutes)
- Add squash and onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in rice and broth. Cover and place in oven.
- Bake until most of the liquid is absorbed (about 30 minutes). Remove from oven and add cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and serve.
I love risotto. For me, it’s one of those great comfort foods. It’s warm, creamy, and filling. It can be a side dish, or a meal on its own. It goes well with almost every kind of vegetable and protein. In short, it is a perfect dish. Perfect, except for the time. Risotto is usually thought of as a labor-intensive dish. It can take over 30 minutes to do right, and requires constant attention. No wonder judges on those cooking competition shows always cringe a little when a contestant announces they’re cooking risotto.
Many of the new kitchen appliances take the work out of risotto (Instapot, I’m looking at you here), but my favorite way uses an old cooking vessel – the Dutch oven. The Dutch oven has been around for 300 years (1707 - I looked it up), but I only added one to my kitchen last Christmas. I was thinking of soups and stews when I asked for one for Christmas. Had I realized I could do risotto in it too, I would have added it years ago!
So let’s get started! Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Start by preparing your vegetables. You can get a raw butternut squash to peel and cube, but even when butternut is in season, if I know I’m going to be cutting and cubing, I buy the prepackaged stuff. Butternut squash is hard to cut and even harder to peel. The fact that I no longer have any vegetable peelers is evidence of this.
Start on your stove top by heating the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the butter to the pan and watch as it starts to melt. When the butter is partially melted, add the fresh sage leaves. Normally I don’t mind substituting dried herbs for fresh, but this is one place where I make the exception, mostly because of the smell of the sauteing sage. Trust me on this one, it’s amazing! Let the sage cook for about three minutes.
When the butter has completely melted, and your kitchen is full of that wonderful sage fragrance, add the onion and butternut squash to the Dutch oven. My recipe calls for two cups of the squash, but I tend to put closer to two and a half in. A little extra won’t affect the cooking time beyond this sauteing part. Stir the onion and butternut until the onions are tender and the butternut starts to soften. Give the vegetables about five minutes to reach this point (and no, you don’t need to stir constantly, but still stir frequently).
Add the rice to the pot and give it a good stir to combine with the vegetables. Add the broth, yes, all of the broth, and stir. If you noticed some brown bits on the bottom of the Dutch oven as you were stirring before, use a wooden spoon to scrape some of it up as you stir.
Once everything has been combined, place your cover on the Dutch oven and place it in the oven. Spend the next half hour doing something other than constantly stirring your risotto (set the table, help the kids with homework, read a book, it’s up to you).
After 30 minutes check the risotto. Most of the liquid should have been absorbed b now, and the butternut squash should be nice and tender. If you are using Parmesan cheese, add it now and stir the risotto until the cheese has melted. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot.
This may have been my first recipe for baked risotto, but I already introduced you to one of my later ones. Check out my Spring Vegetable Risotto for another baked risotto dish.
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