Butternut Squash Risotto With Spinach and Toasted Pine Nuts

Butternut Squash Risotto With Spinach and Toasted Pine Nuts created by januarybride

Published in Cook's Illustrated March 2007. Risotto's labor-intensive reputation is enough to turn many cooks away. But this Butternut Squash Risotto uses a method that eliminates the need for continuous stirring, which allows you to tend to other dishes. Infusing the broth with the squash's seeds and fibers helps to reinforce the earthy squash flavor. Cook's Illustrated found that a 2-pound squash consistently yields a cup or so more than the 3 1/2 cups in step 1; this can be added to the skillet along with the squash scrapings in step 2.

Ready In:
45mins
Serves:
Units:

ingredients

directions

  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add about 3 1/2 cups squash in even layer and cook without stirring until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender and browned, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer squash to bowl and set aside.
  • Return skillet to medium heat; add reserved squash fibers and seeds and any leftover diced squash. Cook, stirring frequently to break up fibers, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to large saucepan and add vegetable broth and water; cover saucepan and bring mixture to simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain bare simmer.
  • While broth mixture is simmering, add 1 teaspoon olive oil to now-empty skillet and swirl to coat. Add 4 ounces baby spinach and cook, covered, over medium heat, until leaves begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring constantly, until fully wilted, about 30 seconds. Set aside.
  • Melt 3 tablespoons butter (or margarine) in now-empty skillet over medium heat; when foaming subsides, add onions, garlic, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add rice to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are translucent around edges, about 3 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until fully absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, strain hot broth through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Return strained broth to saucepan and discard solids in strainer; cover saucepan and set over low heat to keep broth hot.
  • When wine is fully absorbed, add 3 cups hot broth and half of reserved squash to rice. Simmer, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and bottom of pan is almost dry, about 12 minutes.
  • Stir in about 1/2 cup hot broth and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed, about 3 minutes; repeat with additional broth 2 or 3 more times, until rice is al dente. Turn off the heat, stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter/margarine, Parmesan, sage, and nutmeg; drain excess liquid from spinach and gently fold in spinach and remaining cooked squash. If desired, add up to 1/4 cup additional hot broth to loosen texture of risotto. Top individual servings of risotto with toasted pine nuts; serve immediately.
Submit a Recipe Correction

MY PRIVATE NOTES

Add a Note
Advertisement
Enter The Sweepstakes
Advertisement

RECIPE MADE WITH LOVE BY

@Wish I Could Cook
Contributor
@Wish I Could Cook
Contributor
"Published in Cook's Illustrated March 2007. Risotto's labor-intensive reputation is enough to turn many cooks away. But this Butternut Squash Risotto uses a method that eliminates the need for continuous stirring, which allows you to tend to other dishes. Infusing the broth with the squash's seeds and fibers helps to reinforce the earthy squash flavor. Cook's Illustrated found that a 2-pound squash consistently yields a cup or so more than the 3 1/2 cups in step 1; this can be added to the skillet along with the squash scrapings in step 2."

Join The Conversation

all
reviews
tweaks
q&a
sort by:
  1. holliwaters
    This turned out lovely but the method is ridiculously over complicated. Fry onions and garlic in oil or butter, add the rice and stock and some sage/salt/pepper. Lid on. Peel and chop squash and fry for a few mins (separate small pan), then add some stock to the squash and cook till soft. Add Parmesan, spinach, salt pepper to rice and pop the lid back on so spinach wilts. Add the squash and squash stock water to the rice which will soften it back up. I also squoze some lemon when served with More salt and black pepper. Perfect, no need for cooking everything separate/straining squash/putting thigs aside.
  2. Lucky in Bayview
    Oh....yum! This is so good! I almost didn't make it after reading the directions, I'm becoming a lazy cook and this looked like more effort than I wanted to take. I've never made risotto and if I had I don't think this would have seemed as intimidating as it did. I wasn't nearly as much work as I had anticipated. I didn't have any fresh sage so I used about a teaspoon of dried and added it in stages, also I ran out of olive oil, so I used about a tablespoon of coconut oil. This was really delicious! Thanks for sharing the keeper recipe!
  3. januarybride
    Can you say LABOR OF LOVE.. .I think that every time I make risotto. However, this time it was ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT!!! What a fabulous recipe - hands down the BEST risotto I have ever made. I had a butternut squash, onion and sage from my coop box and this was the perfect way to use it up! I followed the recipe exactly (except I skipped the whole saving the seeds/pulp and simmering them in the broth - too much work). WOW, WOW, WOW. Can't wait for dinner!!! UPDATE: I made this again last night and switched it up a bit. This time I roasted the squash the night before. I also used rainbow chard in place of the spinach which worked great. As I started to make it, I realized the only broth in the house was beef broth which was just fine. I also skipped the parm cheese and added about 3 T of nutrition yeast instead. Also didn't have sage, so I threw in some basil and marjoram. Second version was yummy too :) And one last update. . .I promise. . .I took the cold leftovers and made them into patties and coated the tops and bottoms with panko and pan fried them in vegan margarine and WOW was this delish! Served these little crispy (although they did want to fall apart) risotto cakes with a salad for a delightful lunch today. Hubby said he enjoyed the cakes with the crispy outside more than the creamy regular version on day one HOW ABOUT THAT! Next time I will cook them in the oven to see if they stay together better.
  4. januarybride
    Can you say LABOR OF LOVE.. .I think that every time I make risotto. However, this time it was ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT!!! What a fabulous recipe - hands down the BEST risotto I have ever made. I had a butternut squash, onion and sage from my coop box and this was the perfect way to use it up! I followed the recipe exactly (except I skipped the whole saving the seeds/pulp and simmering them in the broth - too much work). WOW, WOW, WOW. Can't wait for dinner!!! UPDATE: I made this again last night and switched it up a bit. This time I roasted the squash the night before. I also used rainbow chard in place of the spinach which worked great. As I started to make it, I realized the only broth in the house was beef broth which was just fine. I also skipped the parm cheese and added about 3 T of nutrition yeast instead. Also didn't have sage, so I threw in some basil and marjoram. Second version was yummy too :) And one last update. . .I promise. . .I took the cold leftovers and made them into patties and coated the tops and bottoms with panko and pan fried them in vegan margarine and WOW was this delish! Served these little crispy (although they did want to fall apart) risotto cakes with a salad for a delightful lunch today. Hubby said he enjoyed the cakes with the crispy outside more than the creamy regular version on day one HOW ABOUT THAT! Next time I will cook them in the oven to see if they stay together better.
  5. brianandgreg
    This recipe is a lot of work! That being said, the way that the recipe is written it makes it look a lot more difficult than it really is. My other comments are: It takes way more liquid than this recipe states & although labor intensive, consider it a labor of love because the end result is amazingly good. Plan on hovering over the risotto (and stirring, and stirring...) while it cooks as it demands your attention.
Advertisement

Find More Recipes