Creamy Orzo Risotto with Butternut Squash

Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Serves
4
Difficulty
Easy
Recipe Details
Ingredients
  • 1 spray(s) cooking spray
  • 2 cup(s) uncooked butternut squash, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup(s) uncooked orzo
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) water
  • 1 cup(s) canned chicken broth
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, fresh, or 8 whole sprigs (sprigs preferred)
  • 2 Tbsp fat-free half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a small rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss squash with oil and salt; spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet, leaving space between squash cubes. Roast, stirring halfway through, until squash is tender and lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add orzo. Stir constantly until orzo begins to smell toasty, about 3 minutes. Add water, broth and thyme sprigs; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is nearly absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove thyme sprigs; stir in half-and-half, cheese and roasted squash. Season well with salt and pepper; serve. Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.
Notes
A medium-sized, 2 pound squash will yield approximately 3 1/2 cups of diced squash cubes. Peel the outside of a whole butternut squash with a sturdy vegetable peeler. Trim the ends and cut it in half lengthwise. Use an ice cream scoop or melon baller to easily scoop seeds and membrane from each half. Precut butternut squash is widely available in supermarkets and is a great shortcut for time-pressed cooks. Be sure to trim down the pieces to small, even-sized cubes or slices before roasting to allow for better browning.