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Rice & Butternut Squash - Lidia Bastianich


When cooking rice in a covered pot, you should regard the cooking time in the recipe as a guideline: the actual time it takes your rice to achieve optimal creaminess and al dente texture will vary greatly, depending on how much liquid you use at the start, the size and kind of saucepan and the lid you use, what the other ingredients may be (such as meats or vegetables), the level of heat, even the variety of rice.

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  • 2 pounds butternut squash
  • 1 cup onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup carrot, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup celery, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 5 cups hot water or light stock, plus more if needed
  • 2 cups Italian short-grain rice, such as Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for passing


Servings 6


Step 1

Trim, peel, and remove the seeds from the squash. Cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. You should have about 4 cups.

Using a food processor, mince the onion, carrot and celery chunks to a fine-textured paste (pestata).

Put the olive oil and butter in the saucepan set over medium heat. When the butter is melted, scrape in the pestata and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring it around the bottom of the pan, until it has dried out and just begins to stick.

Pour in the hot water or stock and bring to a boil. Drop in the squash, then all of the rice, stirring, and remaining salt. Return the liquid to a boil, cover the pan and reduce the heat to keep the rice bubbling gently. Cook for about 14 minutes, or until the rice and squash are cooked and the consistency is creamy.

Turn off the heat, drop in the butter pieces, and stir vigorously until thoroughly amalgamated. Stir in the grated cheese, spoon rice into warm pasta bowls, and served immediately, passing additional grated cheese at the table.

From Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy by Lidia Bastianich

Nutrition facts per serving: 405 calories, 10 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 21 mg cholesterol, 71 g carbohydrates, 9 g protein, 1,144 mg sodium, 5 g fiber


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