September risotto

Prep 20 min
Plus Cooking time: 30 minutes, Microwaving Time: 4 minutes
Makes 6 cups, about 4 servings



small acorn or butternut squash
large bell pepper, preferably red or green
small red or cooking onion, finely chopped
small zucchini, chopped about 1 cup
3 tbsp
garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp
1 cup
short-grain rice, preferably Italian arborio
1 cup
2 tsp
1/2 tsp
1/2 tsp
2 284-mL cans
undiluted chicken broth, preferably lower salt
2 to 2 1/2 cups
1/2 to 1 cup
freshly grated parmesan or romano
1/2 cup
coarsely chopped fresh coriander, or parsley


  • To soften the squash for easy peeling, make a small slash right to the seeded centre. Microwave on high just until it can be easily pierced with a knife, about 4 minutes for acorn, 6 minutes for butternut. Meanwhile, seed and chop pepper. Chop onion and zucchini. Remove squash from microwave. Slice in half. Scoop out and discard seeds. Slice off peel. Slice squash into cubes, about 1?2 inch (1 cm) wide.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large wide saucepan set over medium heat. Add squash cubes and 1 minced garlic clove. Sprinkle with cayenne. Stir-fry squash for 5 minutes. Then, remove to bowl. Add peppers to saucepan and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Remove to another bowl. Don’t add to squash. Add 1 tablespoon butter to pan. When hot, add onions and remaining 2 minced garlic cloves. Sauté, stirring often, until onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Then, add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. When melted, add rice and stir until rice is coated with butter and slightly translucent, about 2 minutes.
  • While constantly stirring rice mixture, immediately add 1?2 cup wine, cumin, mace and salt. Stir gently until rice has absorbed the wine. Then, add remaining 1?2 cup wine, again stirring gently until absorbed.
  • Then, add undiluted chicken broth, 1?4 cup at a time. Stir frequently and waiting until liquid is absorbed before adding more. (This process is necessary to produce a creamy textured rice.) When all broth has been absorbed, add squash and 1?2 cup of water. Continue stirring until all is absorbed. Add remaining water, 1?4 cup at a time, stirring frequently until most of water is absorbed before adding more. The entire stirring and cooking process will take about 30 to 35 minutes.
  • When rice is just tender to the bite and very creamy, stir in peppers, zucchini and cheese until evenly distributed. Stir in coriander. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. Serve immediately in wide shallow soup bowls or deep plates with extra cheese scattered over top. Risotto is best served right away.

Soothing risotto makes a light supper jam-packed with flavor and texture–and is surprisingly filling. For a perfect vegetarian dinner use vegetable broth.

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Calories 272
Protein 8.2 g
Carbohydrates 39.1 g
Fat 8.9 g

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Photo credit: Roberto Caruso

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