Winter Risotto with Butternut Squash and Tuscan Kale
If you don't get the kale our Flower Sprouts could be chopped and used in its place.
Ingredients 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup diced *yellow onion
1 lb. **Butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2" cubes
8 oz. ***Tuscan kale, coarsely shredded
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
2 cups arborio, carnaroli, or other short grain rice
1 cup dry white wine
5 to 6 cups vegetable broth, or best quality commercial vegetable or chicken broth
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
*Twin Springs has that covered!
**You may substitute either of our other winter squash selections:
"BonBon" or "Sunshine"
***Hopefully Joe will get some cut, if not try our flower sprouts, chopped somewhat.
Warm the olive oil and the onion in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring often, for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the squash and kale and toss to coat them with the oil. Sprinkle in the salt. Cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the kale is completely wilted and the cubes of squash are tender.
Stir in the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the grains are shiny and glassy-looking. Raise the heat to medium-high and pour in the wine. Let it bubble for a minute or so, until it is almost absorbed. Reduce the heat to medium-low and begin to add the broth, a ladelful at a time, stirring frequently, until the liquid is almost absorbed. You do not need to stir the risotto constantly, but be sure that you do stir it often, and take care that the rice grains do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
Continue to cook the risotto and add broth, 1 or 2 ladlefuls at a time, for 20 to 25 minutes, until the rice is almost but not completely cooked. It should be al dente--still rather firm and chalky at the center. Check by tasting a few grains. Stir in the butter and cheese. Then stir in a final ladleful of broth to achieve a creamy texture. The risotto should not be stiff or runny: it should mound softly on a spoon. Taste and season with salt and pepper if you like.
Spoon the risotto into shallow rimmed bowls and serve immediately, with additional Parmigiano on the side.
Health Benefits of Consuming Winter Squash
Did you know that one cup of winter squash may provide up to 146% of your daily value of vitamin A since it is rich in beta carotene, the pre-cursor to vitamin A? Beta-carotene is one of the carotenoids found in winter squash that provides it with its deep orange color and has been shown to have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants help prevent the progression of atherosclerosis by inhibiting the oxidation of cholesterol in the body. Since it is only the oxidized form of cholesterol that builds up in the blood vessel walls, these antioxidants help protect against both heart attack and stroke.
The anti-inflammatory properties of winter squash may help reduce the severity of conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, which all involve inflammation. And that's not all. The carotenoids found in winter squash protect against diabetic heart disease and may be beneficial to blood sugar regulation for those suffering from diabetes. Research suggests carotenoids may be inversely associated with insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels.
Potential Blood Sugar Regulation Benefits A second area of high potential for winter squash and its health benefits is blood sugar regulation and prevention of type 2 diabetes. We've already seen evidence in animal studies that show improvement in blood sugar and insulin regulation following intake of cell wall polysaccharides from winter squash and other Cucurbita foods. Likewise, we've seen research pointing to other nutrients found in winter squash as beneficial for blood sugar control. These nutrients include the B-vitamin like compound d-chiro-inositol-a nutrient we expect to see moving up on the radar screen with respect to blood sugar regulation. It's also important to remember that blood sugar regulation is closely tied to our overall supply of B-complex vitamins, and that winter squash is unusual in its B-vitamin composition. This food provides a good amount of five B-complex vitamins! Those vitamins are B1, B3, B6, pantothenic acid, and folate.