Friday, November 13, 2009

Butternut Orzo Risotto

Quite a few years ago, my Mother gave me a gift subscription to "Country Woman" magazine, a sister publication of "Taste of Home". I've enjoyed reading each issue from cover to cover, and each time it arrives in my mailbox, I think of my Mom's gift. Since my Mom passed away 3 years ago, I still continue to receive it as many of the stories in it make me think of her. Plus, there are some good recipes, like this Butternut Orzo Risotto, that I tried this week. I love butternut squash, so when I spied this recipe in the October/November issue, I knew I had to try it. It is delicious and not hard to make. The most time consuming part is peeling and cubing the squash. My photos for this step were not great, so please check out A Veggie Venture, for a great tutorial on cutting up this squash. This informative post written by Allana, is quite helpful if you don't know how to wrangle the large squash. So, after you get the squash cubed, it is roasted in the oven in some olive oil until tender. Don't over cook it! While it roasts in the oven, saute onion in a skillet, then add garlic and the orzo along with chicken broth. It is stirred constantly just as if you were making risotto with rice, and then

adding more broth as it absorbed. After broth is absorbed, throw in some herbs and mix in the tender roasted butternut squash. It looks beautiful, smells wonderfully herby

and tastes delicious! I love squash anyway, but it was fantastic prepared this way. My husband gave it a "10", so that means it's good, real good! I hope you'll try it!

BUTTERNUT ORZO RISOTTO (slightly adapted)
3 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash (about 1/2 inch cubes)
2 tsp. olive oil (recipe calls for 1 tsp.)
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper, divided
3 cups lowfat, reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup diced onion ( recipe calls for 1 small onion)
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp. fresh thyme (recipe calls for 1/2 tsp.)
1 1/2 tsp. fresh sage. minced ( I used 1/2 tsp. rubbed sage)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley ( 2T. in recipe)
shaved Parmesan cheese, optional
Place cubed squash in a greased baking sheet and drizzle with the 2 tsp. olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and 1/8 tsp. butter. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes til tender, but not mushy. Meanwhile, heat the chicken broth in a small sauce pan or in the microwave. In a large skillet, saute onion in melted butter until tender. Add orzo and garlic and stir for 2-3 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the warm broth and continue to stir until all the broth is absorbed. Add the remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time. Allow liquid to absorb before adding more. Cook until risotto is creamy and orzo is almost tender, or al dente. Cooking time is about 15-20 minutes. Add the herbs, remaining 1/8 tsp. pepper and the roasted squash. Toss gently. Garnish with shaved Parmesan, if desired.
I loved the mix of flavors in this dish, I only regret that I didn't have fresh sage to use. Next time, I'll definitely buy some. The roasted squash is delicious, of course, but with the fresh thyme mixed in it was heavenly. I'll be making this often, as I couldn't quit eating it! Makes about 4 servings. Enjoy!





25 comments:

  1. Its nice you get a little rememberance of your mom every month in the mail!

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  2. What a nice way to remember your mom! The risotto looks so warm and delicious!

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  3. I love when my plate is colourful in addition to being delicious. Can you believe I haven't had a single piece of squash this year?
    I guess I should do something about that before they are out of season.

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  4. Lynda, what a great fall side dish! Thanks

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  5. forget rice, i'll take orzo any day, and combining it with sweet and savory butternut is a great idea! perfect dish, lynda!

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  6. Oh, that is really pretty!!! And sounds absolutely delicious :D

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  7. What a wonderful, lasting gift - and then you get to cook and remember... and that is the loveliest orzo - perfect for this time of year and packed with flavor.

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  8. What a beautiful, colorful dish. Cooking your mom's recipes, what a lovely way to feel close and remember her.

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  9. What a great side dish. I love the ingredients you've used here. I've bookmarked this for later in the week. I have to give this one a try.

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  10. what a wonderful way to remember your mother.
    i love the look of this dish, and am looking forward to being gifted a pumpkin by my uncles soon
    orzo rice is also popular in greece, the pumpkin is a great addition

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  11. Lynda- This butternut Orzo risotto looks realy good. This would be a great meatless meal. Besides, I love butternut squash.

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  12. It looks so delicious Lynda.

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  13. LOL... reminds me of my mother, except we used to hide the magazines because she would try to make the casseroles. But she would make odd substitutes. Makes me shudder to remember, but i love thinking of Mom

    Great post

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  14. Lynda, this looks dee-lish! I can sometimes buy the squash already peeled at the grocers (yippee!!). Love the colors and the herbs must really punch it up! Sounds so healthy. Yum Yum!

    I like Country Woman magazine too. what a nice way to remember your Mom.

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  15. So colourful and healthy and delicious looking! I love butternut squash and I love orzo. Sounds perfect!

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  16. That looks amazing, I only know how to make Risotto one way, but this looks really good!

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  17. I wish I had a bowl of this right now!

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  18. Not only is that a pretty dish it looks like it would taste terrific.....

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  19. Yum! This looks so good as do many other recipes on your site. I just started following you today. Your recipebox is my kind of cooking. Thanks for sharing.

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  20. I love how richly colored the butternut is in this dish. It's gorgeous!

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  21. omg this looks so good!! I love risotto cant wait to try this!

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  22. As soon as I saw the picture & read the ingredients I knew that this recipe was going to be a winner! The changes that I made were: I purchased peeled, cubed butternut squash at the market. We like highly seasoned food so I did not measure the S&P just eyeballed what I thought we would like and I cooked with the herbs rather than just adding them towards the end. My family loved it!

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