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Maple and Butternut Squash Risotto

January 31, 2010

Risottos are a delicious (and inexpensive) way to enjoy whole grains. Though the dish takes time to simmer, it makes a filling weeknight dinner, as well as lunch the next day. Although risotto tastes creamy, there is actually no cream or butter in this dish. The richness of the rice comes from the way the rice is cooked that causes the starch in the rice to bind together and make the overall dish creamy and delicious. By adding butternut squash to this dish, you can make some very low fat and low cholesterol meals with risotto.

Here are a few tips when cooking and shopping for ingredients:

  • The type of rice is crucial in making a good risotto dish. The most common Italian rice available is Arborio, which is available at most local grocery stores.
  • The second important ingredient in risotto is the broth. You can either make your own chicken/beef broth, or buy it in the grocery store. You can also make it vegetarian by subbing the chicken broth in this recipe for veggie broth.
  • Feel free to mix and match the vegetables in this risotto dish.  Look for food that’s in season, whenever possible. Kale, onions and pumpkin can make a delightful winter risotto; zucchini and eggplant can offer a tasty choice with the summer harvest.

How to cook risotto:

Cooking risotto is different than cooking other types of rice. Instead of boiling a pot of water and dumping the uncooked rice in, risotto is gently simmered on the stovetop with a cup of liquid at a time until all the liquid is absorbed. Once the liquid is absorbed, you add another cup. You keep doing this in that fashion until all the liquid is gone and the risotto is creamy. Adding vegetables is easy. You cook them first and then either leave them in with rice or add them afterwards. Risotto is easy to make ahead and store for a few days. Depending on the ingredients, leftovers can give you 2-3 days worth of meals and side dishes.

Maple and Butternut Squash Risotto

Serves 4


  • 1 1/4  cups  uncooked Arborio rice
  • 2  teaspoons  olive oil
  • 2 1/2  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1  cup  water
  • ½ Butternut squash diced
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • Coarse salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat broth and water until simmering.
  2. In a separate pot, cook squash, until onions soft, about 7 minutes seasoning with salt and pepper.
  3. Add maple syrup  and cook 2-3 min further till all well blended.
  4. Add rice to squash mixture and stir to coat and then add first cup of broth mixture, stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed. Keep adding a cup of broth until all liquid is absorbed and risotto is creamy. About 20 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese at the end.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2010 4:06 am

    I love that you have a little how to cook risotto because I might be the only person, but I am not the best rice cooker of any sort. I’m excited at the prospect of making risotto yum!

  2. March 9, 2010 9:27 pm

    laeasymealscom, how do you do it?

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