The weather is turning cool, and I am turning to stews and soups and other warming comfort foods for dinner. I stopped at the Chicago Farmstand on the way home from work this afternoon for inspiration, and found a nice butternut squash and a pretty bunch of rainbow Swiss chard. Pulled some arborio rice and a box of chicken stock from the pantry, and I whipped up this soothing (and inexpensive!) meal. The sweetness of the roasted squash pairs nicely with the slight bitterness of the greens. The kids scraped their bowls clean and pronounced it a winner.
Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Swiss Chard
1 butternut squash
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel and core the squash and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread in a single layer on a large sheetpan. Sprinkle with olive oil and mix until the pieces are well coated. Salt and pepper. Roast until the edges of the squash cubes begin to brown, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, trim the stems off of the chard and chop them into small pieces. Chop the leaves and keep separate.
When the squash is finished roasting, remove from the oven to cool. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion and the chopped chard stems until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the rice and cook until the rice begins to absorb some of the oil. Add the stock, about 1 cup at a time; stir while the rice cooks; when most of the liquid has been absorbed, add another cup of stock. When the stock has been fully absorbed, add 1 cup of the water and cook down. Just before adding the last cup of water, add the chopped chard leaves; cook and stir. When the water has been mostly absorbed, add the roasted squash and heat through. Add the Parmesan and stir until well incorporated. Taste for seasoning and serve, passing additional Parmesan at the table.
Serve six; less if your children are voracious eaters like mine.
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