Meatless Monday : Roasted squash and navy bean risotto

roasted squash and navy bean risotto

Roasted squash and navy bean risotto:

Risotto is substantial enough to be a main dish, especially with the addition of navy beans. Much smaller than white kidney beans, navy beans blend in well with the creamy rice and are more palatable to people who aren’t fond of the texture of beans.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small clove of garlic, pressed
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • About 7 cups of good quality broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked navy beans (or any small white bean)*
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
  • Fresh ground pepper and sea salt 
  • Generous handful of chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta

Bring the broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan.

In a good-sized heavy pot, over medium heat, melt the butter and oil together. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat. Pour in the wine and stir. When the wine has nearly evaporated add about a cup of the simmering broth. Continue stirring and when it has nearly evaporated add another cupful.

Continue adding the broth in this way until the rice is tender (but not mushy) and the mixture looks creamy. Add the navy beans and stir. Add the parmesan, lemon zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the spinach.  (Risotto needs near-constant stirring but you can take an occasional break, which is a relief since it takes 30 to 40 minutes to cook. Also, you might not need all of the broth or you may need more, depending on how thick you like your risotto.) 

Gently fold in the roasted squash and serve with feta and extra parmesan sprinkled over.

Roasted squash:
½ buttercup squash, peeled and cut into ½” cubes**
1 T oil
Sea salt & pepper 

Toss the squash with the oil, salt & pepper, spread in a baking dish and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until tender. Stir from time to time.  

* Cooking beans from dried makes for tastier, less mushy beans. And you won't have to worry  about the hormone-disrupting plastic that lines most food cans. Soak 2 cups of dried beans overnight in a pot of cold water. Drain in the morning, refill pot with cold water, covering beans by at least an inch. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain. Freeze leftovers.

**It’s worth baking the entire squash since leftovers are great in omelets (with goat’s cheese and herbs) and in fajitas (along with onions and black beans sautéed with chili powder and cumin seeds).

Serve the roasted squash on the side if you prefer.

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