Chicken and Butternut Squash Risotto
I have this new friend. She’s actually my neighbour. We both love interior design, chatting, 80’s music, chatting, cooking and chatting. In other words, we spend a lot of time chatting. And one of the things we find ourself kibitzing about is cooking. (Cooking and whether or not she should re-paint her bedroom but the cooking is really all you care about.)
After living abroad in Europe for the past 10 years, she has a simple and satisfying approach to cooking, and I love to walk into her home and be hit with the smells of her comfortable and delicious dishes. On more than one occasion, I’ve stood around her kitchen, as her children (Sam, 7 and Caroline, 4) scale her cabinets to reset the iPod to the song Who Let the Dogs Out (please God let them stop), and watched her serve this risotto dish. A meal that has been a staple in her home for years, it is wildly satisfying, especially on a cold night. Anne loves it because “it can feed everyone in the family. When the kids were babies I used to puree it for them.” In other words, this is just the kind of dish SPC adores–a meal that gives both parents and kids a happy belly. And, as Anne says, if you play your cards right in the grocery store (pre-cut squash and chicken), you’re basically only chopping onion and stirring. Plus it’s made in only one pot. I guess that alone is worth listening to “Who Let the Dogs Out” until my ears curdle.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 chicken breasts, sliced into bite-size pieces
- 2 cups risotto
- 2 1/2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 4 sage leaves, chopped
- 1 cup of fresh, shaved parmesan cheese
Place oil in a large pot over medium heat and add onion and chicken.
Cook until chicken is lightly browned on all sides and onion is translucent.
Add risotto rice to pan and don't you dare stop stirring as it gently begins to fry. It should turn translucent after about a minute.
Add sage leaves, squash and 1 cup of chicken stock and allow it to simmer while you continue stirring.
As stock is absorbed, add another cup. Stir. Stir. Stir.
Continue adding stock while constantly stirring.
Do so until you've used all the chicken stock.
Taste the rice to be certain it is cooked. You can add warm water if you need a bit more liquid.
Take the pot off the heat and mix in parmesan cheese.
Cover and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
This dish is wonderful as is but if you want some green vegetables as well add chopped asparagus or broccoli stalks in toward the end of the chicken broth process.
I pulled this risotto together on what ended being one of the coldest days of the year. It also happened to be a jammed packed day of birthday parties. It was such a great dish to come home to. Anne was so right. You always end up with leftovers. Looks like I have dinner for tomorrow too.
Originally posted January 16, 2012
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