Sunday, November 27, 2011

Butternut Sage Risotto Recipe

What is a garden blog without occasional recipes? I am vegetarian. My fiance is a cardiac patient, so he eats a low-fat, low-sodium, low-cholesterol diet. The result is he eats about what I eat, along with some fish. I've adjusted my cooking to take his needs into account, and I'll share some of my more successful recipes for others who are interested.

This Thanksgiving, I made a risotto Don liked a lot. Here is the recipe. If I were to make this again, I'd cut back on the nutritional yeast, which might be too strong for some tastes. I used the yeast instead of the traditional cheese to cut back on sodium, fat, and cholesterol. The sage was from my garden, of course!

Risotto with Mushrooms, Butternut Squash, and Sage


  • 6 Cups Vegetable Stock (I make my own, to keep the sodium as low as possible)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Smart Balance margarine, divided
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 4 oz. fresh button or other mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 6 large fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 1 lb. butternut squash, stringy pulp and seeds discarded, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (Arborio is a MUST for risotto!)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (= brewers yeast)
  • white pepper to taste

1. Warm the stock up in a medium saucepan and keep it warm over low heat.
2. Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of the margarine in a heavy-bottomed medium pot. Add the onion and saute over medium heat about 3 minutes, until it begins to soften. Add the mushrooms and cook 8 minutes more. Stir in the minced sage and cook for about 30 seconds to release the flavor. Stir in the squash and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often to coat the pieces.
3. Add the wine and 1 cup of the warm stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the squash is very tender, about 25 minutes. Uncover the pot near the end of the cooking time to cook off most of the extra liquid.
4. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the rice and cook for 1 minute. Add 1/2 of the warm stock and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice absorbs the liquid. Continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring, until the rice is creamy and soft but still a bit al dente, about 25 minutes. Add water if you run out of stock early.
5. Remove the pot from the heat and vigorously stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of margarine and the nutritional yeast. Add pepper to taste. Divide the risotto into soup bowls and serve warm, immediately.

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