On Friday I had my second food contributor post over on Megan’s health and fitness blog, Honey We’re Healthy. I shared this risotto recipe, which is healthier than a typical risotto because it’s made with short grain brown rice instead of white arborio rice and contains no butter or cream. It’s also packed with everything great about butternut squash – phytonutrients, antioxidants, potassium, vitamin B6, folate, carotenoids (shown to protect against heart disease), beta-carotene, vitamin C, low in fat, and high in fiber. Phew! Quite a resumé, huh?
I buy a vacuum-sealed package of pre-cooked lobster meat, which is certainly a bit of an indulgence, but if you love lobster, it’s worth the splurge every now and again. If you aren’t a big lobster fan, shrimp would work well here too, but I would cut the shrimp into small pieces, and perhaps add a bit more of it than the 6 oz. of lobster to stretch the shrimp through the risotto.
The resulting risotto is creamy from both the short grain rice and the pureed squash (some is pureed, some left in chunks). It’s a gorgeous golden color, a touch sweet from the butternut, and has a lovely briny seafood flavor from the lobster. In fact, a dish this delicious that’s also good for you is pretty much a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t you make this for yourself?
The only real downside of this dish is that it’s not a quickie. You’ll need to stay nearby during the second half of cooking and stir it occasionally but you can be doing other things in the kitchen simultaneously (making dessert, going through the mail, flipping through a magazine, sipping wine, doing a puzzle with your kids, you name it!). And the rich, decadent taste wrapped up in a healthy little package makes it all worthwhile.
2 c. short grain brown rice
small butternut squash (about 2 cups), peeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks
1 tbsp. olive oil
medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
6 oz. cooked lobster meat, cut into small pieces
8 c. chicken broth, divided
Bring the rice and 4 c. chicken broth to boil in a medium saucepan. Lower heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes to partially cook the rice.
Boil the butternut squash in salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and cool slightly then puree 2/3 of the squash in a food processor until smooth.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
Pour the partially cooked rice and any liquid remaining in the saucepan into the pan with the onion and garlic. Add the thyme and bay leaf and stir.
Add the remaining 4 cups of broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally each time until the broth has been absorbed before adding another 1/2 cup.
Spoon the pureed squash into the risotto and stir to combine. Add the diced squash and lobster and stir gently. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.