Cooler weather hit here this weekend, and that was all I needed to set me into fall cooking mode! For me, even before the urge for pumpkin kicks in, I’m craving all things butternut squash (especially roasted butternut squash!). Something about the roasted flavor with the herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme) instantly resonates fall to me and I love it!
Originally, my plan for this weekend was to make a butternut squash sauce and use that to make a butternut squash risotto (among other things). Once getting into the technicalities of making the risotto, though, it seemed the end result might lack texture in using the squash as a sauce and not having any chunks of squash in it. Due to the portion restrictions on butternut squash for Low FODMAP, it also didn’t seem that it would work to do a mix of using some sauce and some chunks. Also, risotto gets a huge flavor boost when you sautee whatever veggies you’ll be using in it first (in the same pan you make the risotto in), so it seemed sauteeing (vs. roasting) would be the way to go here. So ultimately, I went with a completely different approach than originally planned but it all worked out wonderfully! Sauteeing with the fresh herbs still gave a similar “roasted” flavor to the squash that I was going for, and cooking the entire time with the risotto gave the overall dish an added burst of the delicious flavors from the squash.
To add a bit of extra creaminess to this one, I used a few tablespoons of my new favorite thing – blended cottage cheese. It worked wonderfully in place of heavy cream and pulled everything together to make an amazingly creamy, cheesy, flavorful dish that would be delicious either as a side dish or a main dish (risotto is very filling and with the added fiber from the squash is even more so). **BUT… Please note: a) Nutritional values below are based on a 1/6 serving of the below recipe. b) For IBS/Low FODMAP, the recipe as is below must only be consumed 1/6 of a serving at a time due to the amount of squash (which is almost certainly too little to be a main course). Plus, if you’d like to make it with only 4 servings and still be IBS/Low FODMAP friendly, the amount of butternut squash used in the recipe has to be reduced to 120g, which will then cause it to be lacking a bit of bulk from the squash. So really, it’s probably only ever a side dish for anyone with IBS/following Low FODMAP food plan.**
Personally, I can’t ever bring myself to see risotto as a full meal so it’s just fine with me only ever being a side dish! This one has a fair amount of fat content from the cheese and oil, so I would go with a pretty low fat meat/fish pairing to go with it.
Butternut Squash Risotto
- 180 g arborio rice (uncooked)
- 3+1/2 cups vegetable broth (I use my homemade IBS/GERD safe broth, recipe here)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 180 g butternut squash (uncooked, peeled, de-seeded and cut into VERY small pieces). Note: the weight is of the final chunks of squash, and you want them very small because a) the quantity allowed due to Low FODMAP guidelines is quite small. When cut up small, it seems like much more than when in larger chunks. b) Most of the flavor from this dish is in the squash, so you want them small enough that you'll end up being able to get some squash with each bite. Also, If you're unsure how to peel and cut up a whole squash, it's quite easy. I will take some photos next time and put up an instructional post about it (hopefully this weekend)
- 1/4 cup fresh chives (chopped)
- 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary (roughly chopped)
- 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (roughly chopped)
- 9 large fresh sage leaves (thinly sliced) You want very large leaves or if your leaves aren't that large, use extra smaller ones.
- 25 g fresh parmigiano reggiano cheese (grated)
- fresh parsley (chopped) - optional, for garnish
- 3 Tbsp. blended lowfat lactose free cottage cheese ("recipe" for that is here)
- Place the vegetable broth in a small saucepan over medium heat and heat to simmering. Reduce heat to medium-low and leave on the burner (while it's heating, you can start on the following steps).
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Once heated, add in the squash, chives, rosemary, thyme and sage and cook, stirring frequently, for ~5 minutes until the squash starts to brown and is mostly cooked (it doesn't need to be completely cooked at this stage, since it will continue to cook along with the risotto).
- Add in the arborio rice and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for ~2-3 minutes. (You're just trying to get a little bit of a toast to the rice)
- Add in ~1 cup of the vegetable broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed (this takes ~5 minutes or less).
- Repeat step #4 two more times, until you've added in 3 cups worth of the broth to the risotto. Check the consistency of the risotto at this point. Risotto is done when it's softened but still has a little bite to it (you don't want it to be all mush, but don't want to crunch down on uncooked rice either) and also when it cannot absorb any more liquid.
- For mine, it took 3+1/2 cups of broth until it reached the right consistency. Whenever it reaches the right consistency for you, add in the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and the blended cottage cheese and stir to thoroughly incorporate.
- Remove from heat, place on a serving platter and garnish with some chopped fresh parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.
- For GERD, you could probably have a 1/4 serving of this dish, depending on your tolerance to fat levels. For IBS/Low FODMAP followers, though, you should only have a 1/6 serving of this dish per sitting, due to the amount of the butternut squash (it's a restricted FODMAP). The quantity included in here is the maximum amount for 6 servings. If you have only a 1/6 serving though you should do fine with it.
*Information above is based on the specific brands/types of ingredients I used (as one example, pink himalayan sea salt is lower sodium than regular salt). Values vary if using any other brands/types of ingredients.*
*The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.*
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