Nourishing, calming, and simple is the name of my game this time of year. I call it the “in-between time,” when the sun is going down a tiny bit later, but when the birds are starting to chirp again in the morning. The promise of spring always feels like the best encouragement to mix things up.
It’s a little taste of lighter things to come, but still totally acceptable to want to cozy up at the end of a long day and eat dinner at a solid hour of, say, 5 p.m., right? Right. At least over here, that’s still where we’re at. Mostly because being fully in my yoga pants, my hair in a top knot, favorite face oil soaking in my skin, and in bed with a book at 8:30 p.m. is also totally normal and acceptable still, right?
The in-between. I’m into it. It’s taken me a while, especially as a Pacific Northwest native, to truly embrace it. But you know what? It’s the perfect time to check in and to make some goals for the coming season ahead. To see what you need a little more of in your life, and a little less of. To cook more. And play more as new foods come back into rotation. And to start to nourish yourself in a lot of different ways.
This recipe does all of that. It’s like comfort food, without anything too heavy about it. And most importantly of all, it’s made with all real ingredients, easy steps, and done in 15 minutes or less.
It’s one of my favorites from my new cookbook Simply Real Eating.
Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto
Makes 2 servings
- Olive oil
- 2 cups butternut squash, cubed
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1½ cups rice
- 2 cups spinach or chopped kale
- 1 cup organic chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups shredded Gruyere or Parmesan cheese (optional)
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped (plus more to garnish)
- 2 tablespoons dried sage, or 12 leaves of fresh sage, chopped
- 2 teaspoons pepper
In a large skillet, heat a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add squash cubes, and cook until they brown on all sides.
Meanwhile, add 3 cups water, rice, and a generous pinch of sea salt to a stockpot. Bring to a boil and, once boiling, cover and reduce heat to a simmer until rice absorbs all the water, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Add spinach or kale to a skillet with the squash, and sauté until it begins to wilt, 1 or 2 minutes. When rice is done, add it to the skillet with the broth, cheese (if using), parsley, and sage.
Stir until the cheese melts, broth is absorbed, and the mixture is well-combined. Season with extra salt and pepper, and garnish with chopped parsley.