Rich, creamy risotto that’s better for you and easy enough to prepare for a weeknight dinner? Yes, please! My lightened up version uses quick cooking orzo plus sweet roasted butternut squash for a wonderful flavor boost. This dish is satisfying on its own or makes an excellent side, too.
Butternut Squash Orzo Risotto
- 2 cups butternut squash cubed into 1/2-3/4" pieces
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 TB butter
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 1 cup chicken broth low sodium, fat free
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 TB half and half
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- Preheat oven to 425. Spray a small baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Toss squash with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and spread in a single layer on sheet.
- Roast for 20-25 minutes (stirring halfway through), until tender and lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add orzo and stir constantly until it begins to smell toasty (approximately 3 minutes).
- Add chicken broth, water, and thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered for approximately 15 minutes. Stir occasionally, until liquid is nearly absorbed.
- Remove thyme sprigs, stir in half and half, cheese, and roasted squash. Season well with salt and pepper, and serve.