My Thanksgiving Side: Butternut Squash Risotto

Believe it or not this was my first time making risotto. I recall a couple of years ago seeing a big bowl of creamy, Mushroom Bacon Spinach Risotto in a magazine and I don’t know why I didn’t make it right then and there. I have dreamed of it ever since. One restaurant I have been to had it and it was good but after spending the last month watching Chef Antonio make it, it had to be done. And why not as a Thanksgiving side?

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, cubed
  • 4 C Chicken broth
  • 1 C dry, white wine
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 C parmasan cheese
  • 1/4 C sage, chopped
  • butter for sauteeing
  • 1 1/2 C arborio rice
  • salt and pepper

In a large pot sautee the squash in some butter to coat on med-hi. You can cover it to make it go faster. When lightly browned and tender take the squash out. Add onion to the pot and more butter if needed. Remove 1/4 of the squash to a bowl and mash, I like to have some squash mashed in the risotto to give more color. Set both bowls of squash aside. When onion is carmalized add rice, wine,  1 C chicken broth, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until all liquid is absorbed by the rice and it is creamy. Keep adding chicken stock 1 C at a time only when all the liquid is absorbed. When you are finished adding all the chicken stock add the cheese, mashed squash, sauteed, cubed squash, and sage. Salt and pepper to taste.

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Italian Stuffed Chicked Breasts

This recipe is an old recipe I got from my mother. It’s one of those recipes that is so unbelievably easy but looks and tastes quite fancy and complicated.

  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 5-6 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 box chicken-flavored stove top stuffing unprepared, or you can use breadcrumbs
  • 1 T dried basil
  • 1 egg
  • Parmasan or mozerella cheese for sprinkling on top if desired
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 t dried basil
  • salt and pepper

The last 5 ingredients are for an italian dressing that you dress the chicken with, you can just use a bottled italian dressing if you wish. I tell you, this recipe is easy mode. Ok. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a mixing bowl mix together the stuffing uprepared, tomatoes, T of basil, the egg, and some salt and pepper. Set aside. Now there are two ways to stuff them. You can put them in freezer bags and pound them flat with a can. Then roll the stuffing up in them like a wrap. Or the method I prefer is just making little pocket cuts in the inner side of the chicken. Slit them from top to bottom without going through the back, making pockets. Once you have the chicken breasts ready make the dressing. Mix together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, 1 t basil, and salt and pepper. Remember it will seperate so you have to keep stirring it when you use it. Dress the inside of the pockets of chicken with the italian dressing. Then follow with the stuffing mixture. Stuff them well, and shape them so they sit flat. You don’t have to close the pockets all the way. Pour the remainder of the italian dressing over the chicken breasts and bake them in the oven for 20-30 min until the chicken is done and there should be a crispy crust on the exposed stuffing. If you desire, sprinkle cheese on top and melt. Enjoy!