Risotto is one of those dishes that you think is really difficult to make until you actually do. Sure, it can be time consuming, and you do have to stir it constantly, but I definitely wouldn’t call it difficult. Once I got the hang of making risotto, I started making every variation you can imagine with whatever I had on hand. The other day, I happened to have squash, chicken and asparagus on hand, so voilà!
I had roasted a chicken and the squash the day before, so they were both ready and waiting for me when I got home from work, which was a big time saver. You could also use the rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or just quickly sauté a couple of chicken breasts before preparing the rest of the dish. I prefer roasting the squash in the oven because it allows it to caramelize, but I’ve also microwaved it in a pinch (about 8 minutes or so for a full squash).
Butternut Squash, Chicken, and Asparagus Risotto
1.5 cups uncooked arborio rice
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
4.5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
10-12 stalks of asparagus, trimmed
Half of a medium butternut squash
2 cups of shredded, cooked chicken
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp sage
salt and pepper (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°. Place squash on a cookie sheet and roast for 40 minutes or until it is fork-tender. Allow the squash to cool and then remove the skin, cut the squash into cubes, and set aside. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the asparagus and toss until cooked through. Remove the asparagus, allow to cool slightly, and then cut into 1-inch pieces.
In a medium saucepan, heat the broth over low heat. Put the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil into the sauté pan you used for the asparagus over medium heat and add the garlic. Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes. Ladle in 1 cup of the broth and stir constantly until the liquid is absorbed. Continue to add the rest of the broth 1/2 cup at a time, waiting until the liquid in the pan has been absorbed before adding more. Be sure to stir constantly while the rice is cooking. When you are almost out of broth, add the thyme, rosemary, sage, salt, and pepper and continue cooking until you have added all of the broth. Add the squash, asparagus and chicken and stir to fully incorporate.
This is a great one-dish meal, and it makes enough for 2 adults and a toddler with leftovers for lunch the next day!