Happy New Year! Another Christmas has already come and gone (How did that even happen???), and it’s time to round up my stuff to go back for a new semester. I didn’t want to go overboard on receiving gifts this year, but there are a couple things that I’m super excited to take back with me–one of which is my new Staub cast iron French oven. In the past I’ve been skeptical of heavy, bulky pots and pans for convenience reasons, but now I see why these are so loved! Cooks evenly, retains and distributes heat like nothing I’ve ever used before, and wins over a slow-cooker any day in my book. (Granted, I’m more a fan of fast cooking.) And, not to mention, the glossy indigo exterior looks STUNNING. I really want to just keep that red Christmas bow on it all the time.
Last night I used it to make this easy brown rice risotto and the results were INCREDIBLE. Wholesome brown rice, sweet roasted butternut squash, sautéed smoky mushrooms, caramelized onion, toasted garlic, tender spinach, savory herbs, and melty, nutty asiago all married together in a creamy, rich-tasting, and elegant side or main.
You can use any pan with raised sides and a lid to make this recipe, but letting it cook in the heavy French/Dutch oven helps create maximum creaminess with minimal effort. That means free hands for most of the cooking time! (Aka time to perfect these seared plump and juicy wild sea scallops, shown below with a maple Dijon glaze…soooooooo yummy.)
While your chopped butternut is roasting, sauté the onion, mushrooms, and garlic in EVOO; add the herbs, salt/pepper, rice, a splash of wine, and some broth; then cover the stovetop oven, and just check back in with a stir every 5-10 minutes! When it’s almost done, stir in the spinach to wilt…
- 4.75 oz | 1 cup cubed butternut squash
- 1.5 tsp EVOO
- 1/4 cup sliced yellow onion
- 4 oz cremini mushrooms
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 6 Tbsp brown rice
- 1 Tbsp white wine
- 1 tsp herbs de Provence*
- 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- pinch salt and pepper, to taste
- 1.5 cups chicken broth**
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 24g finely shredded asiago***
- Preheat oven to 425º. Spread cubed butternut on a baking sheet lined with foil, and toss with about 1/2 tsp EVOO, a pinch salt and sprinkle black pepper. Roast about 20 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.
- Heat remaining EVOO in a Dutch/French oven or sauté pan. Add onion and mushrooms and sauté, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add wine and rice; stir to scrape up browned bits. Add herbs, a sprinkle black pepper and salt**, and 1/2 cup of the broth. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a light boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 10 minutes. Then add another 1/4 cup broth and gently stir about 30 seconds. Repeat after 5 minutes, adding more broth as necessary. Continue until rice is tender and creamy, but not overcooked. (You may not need the entire 1.5 cups broth.)
- When rice is just about done, add spinach with an additional 1-2 Tbsp broth. Cover 1-2 minutes, then gently stir until spinach is wilted.
- Add roasted butternut and cheese, and stir to combine.
- Enjoy as a side or a smaller main dish.
- *If you don't have herbs de Provence, try increasing the rosemary and adding fresh thyme, or substituting Italian seasoning.
- **If using a salty chicken broth, you may not need any added salt.
- ***You can substitute parmigiano-reggiano or an Italian blend.