Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

November 18, 2017

© Jennifer Causey

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Butternut squash and sausage risotto

One-pot meals that you can make in a rice cooker

Risotto made with winter squash is typically enjoyed in Italy in the fall. This variation incorporates sweet sausage and sage leaves.


For the sage leaves
¼ c. (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
6 sage leaves


For the risotto
1 c. (250 ml) medium-grain rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli
½ lb. (225 g) sweet Italian sausage, removed from its casing
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1½ c. (375 ml) finely chopped, peeled and seeded butternut squash
¼ c. (60 ml) white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio)
2½ c. (625 ml) chicken or vegetable broth
2 tbsp. (30 g) unsalted butter
⅓ c. (90 ml) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Set a medium rice cooker to the regular cycle or to quick cook if it’s a fuzzy-logic machine. Heat the olive oil, add the sage leaves and fry until they are crisp. Remove to paper towels and drain. Transfer the oil from the rice cooker to a measuring cup and set aside.

Place the rice in a sieve and rinse under a steady stream of cool water, stirring the grains. When the water runs clear, stop rinsing and shake the sieve to drain off excess water.

Sauté the sausage in the rice cooker until it loses its pink color, breaking up any larger pieces. Add the shallot and butternut squash, and cook for about 3 minutes or until the shallot begins to soften. Add the wine and chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains.

Cover the rice cooker and reset to the regular cycle. At the end of the cooking cycle, check the risotto; there should still be a bit of liquid in the pan and the rice should be al dente (still firm to the bite). Stir in the butter and half of the Parmigiano. Serve the risotto in shallow bowls, garnished with a drizzle of the sage oil and a leaf of sage. Pass the remaining Parmigiano on the side. Serves 4 to 6.

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