This Butternut Squash and Kale Risotto is hearty, healthy comfort food!
How are you doing on any New Year’s resolutions you might have had?
I was doing great until last week. I had a busy Monday, woke up sick on Tuesday, and decided I needed to get out of the house more as the weekend approached (I’m kind of a winter shut-in). All this led to slacking on my morning work outs and eating a lot of pizza and fried Mexican food.
I try not to get too worked up if I get off track on healthy eating and exercise. I take things day by day, trying to make the best decision for my body and my sanity. I knew that I was feeling better on Wednesday, but getting up early and working out might not be the best thing for my body as it was recovering. I feel like I need to ask myself – am I depriving myself of foods or making myself exercise so my body can reach a cultural ideal, or because its what is best for me? If I’m really trying to do what’s best for me and my body, I will occasionally indulge myself in relaxation or some compromising food. In the end it tends to be more beneficial for my state of mind if nothing else.
If you’ve been falling behind on healthy eating, this is where we turn it around. I consider myself the queen of taking something traditionally unhealthy and making it healthier while still being indulgent. Hello, I made salad into a pizza. Let’s talk risotto.
Risotto is a magical grain that turns creamy and dreamy without necessarily adding any fat filled ingredients. It’s rich and filling without being heavy. Comforting without being compromising. What I’m trying to say is it’s the perfect food.
Don’t be intimidated by this butternut squash and kale risotto. You do need to set aside a solid twenty minutes where you will not walk away from the stove, but you can totally do it with a baby on your hip (I did). You also won’t necessarily use all the vegetable stock called for, so don’t feel like you can’t make this if you only have one quart on hand. I just like to have more than enough because some evaporation occurs while it is simmering. If you start to run out before the cooking time is up, just add a little water to the simmering pot of stock and make sure it’s simmering before you add it to the risotto.
Were you looking for my face? Because it’s at the bottom of this bowl.
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Creamy risotto with luscious butternut squash and perfectly cooked kale!
- 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 quarts vegetable stock
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1 tablespoon diced garlic (about 3 cloves)
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup kale leaves, stems removed and leaves torn
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Toss butternut squash with one tablespoon olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast squash in the oven, stirring once or twice, until soft and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, bring vegetable stock to a boil in a medium pot, then reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer.
In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for one minute.
Add the rice and stir to coat with the shallot mixture. Add the wine, stir, and allow to simmer for a minute. Add one ladleful of the simmering stock to the rice and stir. Stirring continuously, keep adding a ladleful of stock to the rice as soon as the rice absorbs the last addition. Continue this for twenty minutes. When it is almost done, add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil.
Remove the rice from the heat and gently fold in Parmesan cheese, kale, and roasted butternut squash. Serve immediately, with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.