Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Squash and Spinach Risotto with Gorgonzola

I've been feeling inadequate in the kitchen lately. In the past week, I've made a mediocre baked pasta dish, a dry layer cake, and tonight - overcooked chicken. It's shaking my confidence.

Luckily, in each kitchen failure there has been a silver lining. In my pasta dish, there was the killer roasted tomato sauce. In the cake, a sinfully delicious fudge buttercream frosting. And tonight with the chicken, an out of this world risotto with squash, spinach, and gorgonzola cheese.

Last week for my birthday dinner, I had the most amazing dish at al Vento. It was a big piece of seared halibut on a bed of cauliflower risotto. I'd never been so transfixed by eating a simple rice dish before! It was crazy good. I've been wanting to make my own veggie-packed risotto ever since.

I received a big butternut squash from someone at work who has a hookup with an organic farmer. I roasted that bad boy up right away and decided it would be perfect in risotto, prepared the traditional way, with chopped fresh spinach and hunks of gorgonzola cheese added.

It was really, really, really good. Like super freaking delicious. Creamy and full of flavor, it was comforting and filling and loaded with fall flavors. It was good enough even to mask the dryness of that chicken. Confidence restored!

Squash and Spinach Risotto with Gorgonzola
6 cups water
2 cubes vegan vegetable bouillon
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1.5 cups roasted butternut squash, diced or mashed
1.5 cups finely chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
hunks of fresh gorgonzola cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat water and dissolve bouillon in a medium pot over medium-low heat and keep warm.

In a large skillet, melt butter and olive oil together over medium to medium-high heat. Add onion and sweat a few minutes to soften. Add garlic, some salt and pepper, and continue to cook until soft but not browned. Add rice and toast for 2-3 minutes, stir to make sure the butter/oil is all over the rice.

Add wine and stir until liquid is nearly dissolved. Add squash. Add 1-2 ladles of warm veggie broth water and stir until dissolved. Repeat until broth is gone or rice is tender and creamy (approx 25 minutes).

Add spinach and parmesan and stir in a final addition of salt and pepper, if needed.

To serve, ladle hot risotto into bowls or plates and top with hunks of gorgonzola.

Optional: top with baked chicken breasts, baked or seared fish, or other protein of your choice.

ONE YEAR AGO: Tomato and Corn Pie


  1. Risotto one of my new favorite foods and squash one of my all time favorites. Thanks for the combo! can't WAIT to try!! YUMMYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!! Do you think it goes w/ Champagne ;)!

  2. DUH - Champagne goes with EVERYTHING!!!! But with cooler temps I admit I'm loving the red wine again!!!!