Category Archives: Risotto

Oven-Baked Butternut Squash Risotto

The weather is turning colder. The leaves are changing color. Earth-tone colored clothes are in the stores. Finally! At last! Autumn! It’s so close. Just a few more days and it’s officially time. Time for stews, and squash, and apple cider donuts. The best flavors of the year start soon. To celebrate my favorite season, I made my Autumn season opener: risotto. Every year I like to make Butternut Squash Risotto at least once. It’s the tastiest. This year, I had fancy new Williams-Sonoma Calphalon pans that I wanted to use in my first ever attempt to make Baked Risotto. I love that whole stove to oven to stove dance that I can do with these.


So I wanted to do that dance a lot. I started off roasting the squash and mushrooms with a little bit of thyme. The pans are non-stick, so I just used a tiny bit of olive oil spray. It worked like a charm! I like my butternut squash with a little bite left to it, but if you don’t, then go ahead and let it roast longer. And make sure your pan is oven-safe!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Mushrooms

I’m not going to lie to you right now – I was nervous. I’m so used to stirring my risotto and being able to check it (taste-test!) frequently. So this was a little weird. But you know what? It worked! When it was done in the oven, I just finished it with my secret weapon – coconut milk – and it was all set! The coconut milk adds a lot more creaminess to the risotto than butter, plus a little bit more flavor as well. It’s my sneaky way of making the risotto slightly more decadent.

Just a quick note: Wrapping the handles in aluminum foil is a good visual reminder that the handles are HOT when they come out of the oven.

Baked Butternut Squash Risotto

Baked Butternut Squash Risotto
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Roasted squash and mushrooms, mixed with creamy baked risotto.
  • 2 cups (10oz) butternut squash, ½ inch cubes
  • 2 cups (5.5oz) mushrooms, halved or quartered - depending on size
  • 4-5 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2-3 cups broth, chicken or vegetable - divided
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • Pecorino Romano cheese - topping
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Lightly use cooking spray on a large, oven-safe pan. Wrap the handle in aluminum foil. Add butternut squash, mushrooms, and thyme, and toss lightly to coat in oil. Bake about 15 mins, or until squash is fork tender. Remove from oven, and transfer contents to a bowl, and set aside.
  3. Return the pan to the stove. Turn up oven temperature to 425. Lightly spray again, and saute the shallot about 1-2 minutes. Add rice, and stir until it's coated in the oil. Add the wine, and stir continuously until it is absorbed. Add 1½ cups of the broth, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover, and bake in the oven 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Transfer from the oven to the stove. Stir in ½-1 cup of broth as needed. Finish with coconut milk, salt and pepper. Add the squash and mushrooms, stir to heat it up. Serve with cheese.

Cheesy Rice (fancy version)

I have decided it is long past time that I give my original cheesy rice recipe a makeover. Why? Because I bought a really cool bowl and wanted to use it for my website's title recipe. Also I wanted to buy different cheeses. Normally I make cheesy rice with just butter, salt, and American cheese. This time I jazzed it up with chicken broth, Muenster cheese, cheddar cheese, and a green bell pepper (you know, so it's healthy). Was the rice still cheesy? You betcha! Am I now in love with Muenster cheese? Holy moly I really am. I almost ate it all before it was time to add it to the rice. That would have been tragic. Also this recipe makes a lot of rice. Why so much????? Because cheesy rice is a meal, not a side dish. cheesy rice2 You're probably wondering "can I add more cheese?" The answer is: YES. When in doubt, always add more cheese. See how my site is named Cheesy Rice? That means I have final say in this matter. In fact, I added more than just Muenster cheese, I added sharp cheddar too! BECAUSE I CAN. Check it: cheese Now check out the recipe  
Cheesy Rice (fancy version)
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (plus more for topping)
  • ⅓ cup cubed Muenster cheese
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • Salt
  1. In a medium pot, bring broth to a boil. Add rice and butter, lower the heat, cover and simmer about 20mins or until done. Stir occasionally.
  2. Once rice is done, stir in the cheeses until thoroughly melted. Mix in the bell pepper, and season to taste.
  3. Top with more cheese, and eat it while it’s hot!



Butternut Squash Risotto

When I moved home, a little over a year ago, I discovered a beautiful butternut squash growing in my family’s garden. We had no idea what to do with it. For no apparent reason I had a desire to make risotto, and I assumed you can use butternut squash in some way in a risotto. I researched several different recipes and took the pieces that made the most sense to me. And then I made it. It was the first time my parents had ever had risotto, and only the second time for my brother. It was a completely new type of food to them, and not as intimidating as when I make them Asian food. And the risotto was perfect. I’ve made it twice since then, once with my friends where I added coconut milk at the end which made it super creamy, and then this time for my family. Unfortunately I forgot the coconut milk, but it was still awesome.

Most folks are intimidated by risotto. I can sympathize, really, because I know it sounds like a long arduous task to make it. But I actually find it soothing. After prepping all the ingredients, all you have to do is stir for a while until it’s done.  Just make sure everything is prepped first so you’re not scrambling to stir and chop at the same time. I usually start with setting the broth to simmer, and then going to town on the onions and set those aside in a bowl.

Then I get working on the squash. I have to admit, I absolutely hate peeling squash. But it’s so worth it. I try to chop it into smallish pieces, since it takes a long time to cook. So I recommend aiming for around 1/2 inch or smaller pieces. I am unfortunately terrible at cutting butternut squash so I was less than successful at my attempt to make the pieces even remotely the same size. Let’s just look at it before I chopped it up!

It’s good to cook the onion and squash together for a bit before you start doing the rice, since it gives them a chance to get tender. I try to cook them until the squash is just about to accept a good fork stabbing, then I take them out to get the rice started without major pan crowding.

Do you like the horrible unevenness of my squash pieces? Oops…

After I take them out I get started on the rice. One thing people generally have difficulty with is knowing when to add more broth. I’m all about making risotto in the ladle of broth at a time method, and a friend helped me figure out the broth adding issue. When you drag the spoon through the rice, and it doesn’t quickly fill in with excess liquid, then it’s time to add more. I hope my picture helps illustrate what I’m talking about, it was a little hard to take while stirring and the steam fogging up the lens.

After adding a few ladles of broth I add the onion and squash back in. I try not to wait too long because the squash needs all the time possible to soften up.

When the rice and squash are nice and tender, all you have to do is remove if from the heat and melt in cheese and butter! I use Pecorino Romano cheese, and that’s what I wrote in the recipe, but Parmesan would also be fine. And then you eat! Unless you’re me, then you put it into a tiny, adorable bowl and try your best to take pictures of risotto and make it look appealing. Don’t worry, those flecks in it are just nutmeg and cinnamon.

Since I made this for my brother’s birthday, we also had ribs with it by his request. So of course I took silly pictures with a rib. It was my first time eating ribs. I found the experience very messy, yet tasty, but overall not really worth the effort. I guess I’ll never understand the appeal.

Now, on to the recipe!!

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Chicken and Corn Risotto

I love making risotto. It’s become one of my go-to meals. I  first learned about it in college, when Sarah taught me how to make it a couple times. Then, on a vacation in New Hampshire I had this really awesome mushroom risotto, but when I told my mom about it she had no idea what I was talking about. What kind of Italian doesn’t know about risotto (ignore the fact that I had only recently learned about it as well)? So I planned on making some. We had butternut squash growing in our garden, so I made a butternut squash risotto. It was fantastic! (Recipe will be up when it grows again this summer!) Realizing it was my mom’s new favorite, I made it again on different occasions, such as her birthday or a random Tuesday. Sometimes it’s mushroom and beef, sometimes it’s chicken and corn. Today was the random Tuesday chicken and corn version. It was pretty spectacular.

Usually I make it with those boxes of tasty broth, but we didn’t have any and it’s gross out so we didn’t feel like going to the store. So it turns out that risotto works well with bouillon cubes! Lucky us! Plus we had leftover corn on the cob since I bought some yesterday to make a black bean, corn and mango salsa (which will also be posted eventually) as well as some parsley for that same recipe.

And don’t forget, making risotto is always a good excuse to open a new bottle of wine! Both for the recipe, and for you to enjoy while endlessly stirring the rice. Comfort food and wine on a rainy day, it doesn’t get much better than that!

FYI: Arborio is the best kind of rice to use for risotto, in fact the bags or containers usually say “risotto’ on them. But if you don’t  feel like buying fantastic risotto rice, you can always use medium grain instead, it just won’t be as glamorous.