Last night I had a my girls Jill and Bridgette over for dinner while John was out at a bachelor party. I wanted to make something easy and fairly light, and vegetarian. Risotto tends to get a bad rap for being time consuming and difficult, but in my experience it's really not! You just have to be there to stir it constantly for about 25 minutes, which is some added strength training for my right arm anyway :-)
We had a great girls night that started out with wine, brown rice chips and peach mango salsa (thanks Jill!), continued on with the risotto and B's salad, and ended with too many vodka martinis and some late night "nachos." Oops. I guess my 5 mile treadmill run Saturday a.m. helped balance out some of that - like 2 martinis! We stayed up way too late, and of course I was still up early this morning - so needless to say tonight's planned dinner turned into John and me ordering Thai food at 5:30 p.m.! Oh well, live and learn repeat.
I adapted the Butternut Squash Risotto from another Giada DeLaurentiis recipe found in her latest cookbook, Giada's Kitchen. I like this cookbook because it features lighter recipes than some of her others. Her recipe is actually for Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto, but I didn't have vanilla beans, so just eliminated that step altogether. I also added basil instead of chives. I realized afterwards I completely forgot to add salt - but luckily I had some resilient taste testers who added their own, no problem.
Butternut Squash Risotto
Adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis' Giada's Kitchen
4 cups organic vegetable broth
3 cups butternut squash cut into 1 inch pieces (I just bought two bags of frozen butternut squash and defrosted)
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Pour the broth into a medium sauce pan and warm over bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 3 - 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with butter. Add wine and simmer until the wine is absorbed, about 3 more minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue this process, adding the broth by the ladle full, until all broth is absorbed and rice is creamy. Add squash, Parmesan cheese, salt, and basil. Serve and enjoy!