Home Β» Butternut Squash Risotto & GERD

Butternut Squash Risotto & GERD

After last week’s delicious Gruyere risotto, I’ve been craving more risotto (Thanks, JOHN for turning me on to Arborio! Ahhh!) This risotto was laborious, but good. If you’re a lover of butternut squash, you will enjoy this recipe. It makes a TON, however…so make it for a crowd or look forward to leftovers all week…and then some.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Spinach and Toasted Pine Nuts adapted from Misadventures in a Healthy Life

1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded,  and cut into 1/2- inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 ounces baby spinach
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
4 tbsp unsalted butter 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend
1 onions, chopped very fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 3 medium garlic cloves (about 2 tsp), pressed through a garlic press
2 cups Arborio rice, dry
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 ounces finely grated parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup)
2 tbsp minced fresh sage
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg


NOTE: You will only need one skillet for this recipe.  You just keep reusing it as you go.

Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet (about 5 minutes).  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet (med-high heat).  Add 3 1/2 cups squash and cook without stirring until golden brown (4-5 minutes).  Add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender and browned (about 5 more minutes).  Transfer to bowl and set aside.

Return skillet to medium heat and add reserved fibers and seeds (and any leftover squash).  Cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned (about 4 minutes).  Transfer to a large saucepan and add broth and water.  Cover saucepan and and bring to a simmer over high heat.  Then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain simmer.

Add 1 tsp olive oil to skillet and add baby spinach.  Cook, covered, over medium heat until spinach begins to wilt (about 2 minutes).  Uncover and cook, stirring frequently, until completely wilted.  Set aside.

Melt 3 tbsp butter over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened (4-5 minutes).  Add rice to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are translucent around the edges (about 3 minutes).  Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until fully absorbed (4-5 minutes).

While rice is cooking in the wine, strain hot broth through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.  Press solids to get out as much liquid as possible.  Return strained broth to saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

When wine is fully absorbed, add 3 cups broth, the wilted spinach, and half the reserved squash to the rice.  Simmer, stirring every 3-4 minutes until liquid is absorbed and bottom of skillet is almost dry (about 12 minutes).

Stir in 1/2 cup broth and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed.  Repeat 2 or 3 more times until rice is al dente.

Remove from heat and stir in remaining butter, parmesan, sage, and nutmeg.  Gently fold in remaining cooked squash.

Top individual servings with toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Serves 12

Nutrition Information (per serving): 255 calories; 9.2 g. fat; 10 mg. cholesterol; 322 mg. sodium; 32.3 g. carbohydrate; 0.5 g. fiber; 6.4 g. protein


Thank you SOOOO much for all the National Nutrition Month topics you’d like for me to discuss this month! You guys are awesome, I really appreciate inquisitive minds!! I’ve adapted the list and hope to help everyone out in learning more about nutrition! And for today…

Today’s NNM Topic: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is commonly referred to as “acid reflux,” however GERD results from conditions such as hiatal hernias, weak gastric sphincters, reflex esophagitis, or abdominal obesity and/or abdominal pressure. There are MANY dietary recommendations for the treatment of GERD including:

Remaining in an upright position 45-60 minutes after eating
Avoiding eating 2-3 hours before bed
Eat smaller, more frequent meals
Drink fluids between meals
Avoid vigorous exercise immediately after eating
Limit caffeine intake (cola, coffee, tea, etc.)
Avoid chocolate
Avoid acidic foods (lemonade, fruit juices, tomato sauce and tomato products)
Avoid spicy foods such as pepper, chili pepper, hot sauce, etc.
Avoid peppermint and spearmint
Avoid alcohol
Avoid chewing gum
Adopt a low-fat diet
Reach and maintain a healthy weight, if applicable

Question: Do you know someone who suffers from GERD? What do they do to help alleviate their symptoms?

Random question: Do you let your dog/cat give you kisses? I have Lily in this bad habit of giving kisses when I get home from work. She likes me to lay on the ground and go at my face… for like 5 minutes! While I’m not opposed to doggie kisses, I hate for this to become a routine she comes to expect anytime I walk in the door! And she now kisses on command — kind of adorable, no? I know some people think animal licks are gross (and that’s okay!), but I thought I’d ask 🙂

P.S. I’m posting a Q&A tomorrow, so send any last minute questions my way! [email protected] — thanks! 😀

Share With Your Friends!


  1. Anna
    March 2, 2010 / 6:15 am

    My sister has had GERD really bad during her pregnancy…I feel sorry for her!

    Love, love, love risotto! So yummy!

  2. Jess (Fit Chick in the City)
    March 2, 2010 / 6:20 am

    I don’t know anyone who has GERD. In fact I didn’t even know what it was. If I had a dog I would not let it give me kisses all over my face, but that’s just me.

  3. Lily @ Lily's Health Pad
    March 2, 2010 / 6:39 am

    Nothing wrong with animal kisses as long as they come from your own pet. I wouldn’t want anyone else’s pet slobbering on me. πŸ™

  4. Katie @ Health for the Whole Self
    March 2, 2010 / 7:34 am

    That recipe sounds absolutely delicious! I’ve actually never made risotto, but now I really want to give it a try!

    My cats have definitely licked my face before…but somehow I don’t think kitty kisses really compare to ones from dogs – they’re a lot less sloppy! πŸ™‚

  5. Karin
    March 2, 2010 / 8:05 am

    Risotto is definitely addictive. But so good :).
    Yours looks fantastic! I love pumpkin risotto.

  6. Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place
    March 2, 2010 / 8:07 am

    the baby i sit for had GERD. I think it’s pretty weird for that to occur in a 1 year old. She had to take a pill every morning before she ate or she would throw up. As she got older, she “grew out” of her acid reflux, if that’s possible. She doesn’t need to take the pills anymore.

    I only let my dog kiss my body, not my face! She sniffs poo outside all day so I know where that mouth has been!

  7. Food-Fitness-FreshAir
    March 2, 2010 / 8:08 am

    I love butternut squash risotto…might be one of my favorite types. I don’t make traditional risotto at home much because it can be so time consuming, but I love getting it when I go out.

  8. Estela @ Weekly Bite
    March 2, 2010 / 8:15 am

    Rissotto is a favorite of mine! What a great recipe!

  9. Lori
    March 2, 2010 / 8:16 am

    I have 3 puppies. I let them give me kisses whenever they want!

  10. Can You Stay for Dinner
    March 2, 2010 / 8:20 am

    Oh my gosh- this butternut squash risotto sounds and look delicious, Nicole!! Yumm
    I do kiss my family’s dog right on the lips- I just can’t help myself. She’s so cute and cuddly!
    Have a great Tuesday!

  11. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    March 2, 2010 / 8:26 am

    I love risotto, but I don’t have the patience to make it at home. I did it once and, whew, that was so time-consuming! Growing up, I always thought doggie kisses were gross. Until I got my pup. I think once you know a dog’s personality, you’re more likely to let it kiss you because it’s like a friendβ€”not a gross pet. Cats, on the other hand, will never kiss me. Ick.

  12. John
    March 2, 2010 / 8:43 am

    I must admit chuckled when I saw the title of today’s post and a bigger chuckle when you blamed me for it…..sorry.

    Funny thing is that although I restocked my arborio supply even after your Q&A I still haven’t had any. Yet you have twice now πŸ™‚ I had a similar butternut risotto in January. It’s really good.

  13. thebalancebroad
    March 2, 2010 / 9:04 am

    Risotta is on my list of things to try…yours looks perfect!

    I’ve never had acid reflux before (that I know), but I have friends who pop Tums like they are breath mints!

  14. Sushma Mallya
    March 2, 2010 / 9:18 am

    Risotto looks delicious and very healthy as well

  15. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce
    March 2, 2010 / 9:20 am

    GERD is such a funny name. we were actually just learning about GERD in my class! the prof is a doctor who firmly believes that lifestyle changes are far more helpful than medication and used GERD as an example. he said that most doctors will prescribe an antacid, which will help with “heartburn” simply because it reduces acid overall. he said that does’t address the underlying problem: the acid is in the wrong place! the acid shouldn’t be coming up into the esophagus, but there isn’t necessarily too much of it! great tips on how to improve symptoms πŸ™‚ i LOVE bnut squash and risotto, yumm

  16. Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life
    March 2, 2010 / 10:05 am

    I love risotto!

  17. Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather
    March 2, 2010 / 10:09 am

    I love butternut squash, your risotto sounds heavenly! I don’t mind dog kisses from Joe but luckily he doesn’t do it all the time. My mom hates them it’s so funny! You and lily sound adorable.

  18. kate
    March 2, 2010 / 10:20 am

    i love risotto but ive never made it either, its on my to-make list though. i had no idea it was national nutrition month!

  19. Corinne Dobbas
    March 2, 2010 / 10:20 am

    Adore anything with butternut squash and risotto! Your dish looks awesome πŸ™‚ And yes, my cat, Bella, licks me all the time–somewhat strange for a cat (I’ve been told), but it cracks me up … and she’s pretty gosh darn cute, so it’s ok πŸ˜›

  20. eaternotarunner
    March 2, 2010 / 11:08 am

    I have had it for 10 years but unfortunately none of those tricks help me that much. I do not drink alcohol or caffeine at all any more, it’s not fun!

  21. Swanky Dietitian
    March 2, 2010 / 12:00 pm

    Risotto and butternut squash…two of my favorite foods together! This recipe sounds great!

    If Im cuddling with my cats, they have been known to lick my face. Most people would probably find that super weird but I think its sweet.

  22. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday
    March 2, 2010 / 12:51 pm

    I don’t mind a lick or two but once they start licking and don’t stop I get annoyed.

  23. Kelly
    March 2, 2010 / 1:10 pm

    Thanks for the information on GERD. I have heard about it but I dont’ know anyone who has it. But this was great information. That is why I LOVE your blog..you always have such useful information! Thanks for all the effort you put into educating us!! πŸ™‚

  24. Andrea@WellnessNotes
    March 2, 2010 / 2:49 pm

    Thanks for the GERD info!

    Another amazing sounding and looking risotto! I think I’ll have to make some risotto soon… πŸ™‚

  25. Carbzilla
    March 2, 2010 / 3:07 pm

    My nephew had GERD as a baby – not fun.

    We get dog AND cat kisses at home. Our little cat LOVES my husband and when she’s not licking his arm for attention she will reach out and touch him instead. He taught her to fist bump that way, and it’s hilarious. We have to get it on YouTube.

  26. homecookedem
    March 2, 2010 / 3:16 pm

    Your risotto sounds wonderful!! And it’s gluten free, always a plus in my book!! πŸ™‚

    Our older dog gives kisses on demand, but our other dog Ripsey isn’t into kissing. I don’t like dog kisses, blech!

  27. Melinda
    March 2, 2010 / 3:16 pm

    Thanks for the GERD info. Did diet eds on that in the hospital but not as much as you would think, as you know the docs love to consult on just about everything. I love dog and cat kisses, but it can get out of hand. Great looking risotto. I can’t believe you have a snake.

  28. Juliana
    March 2, 2010 / 4:02 pm

    Nicole, your risotto looks fabulous…sure healthy and yet tasty πŸ™‚ My husband had a very mild symptoms of GERD for a while but has not been complaining of it anymore πŸ™‚

  29. Gelareh @ Nutritious Foodie
    March 2, 2010 / 4:04 pm

    Your Rissotto looks Awesome!

  30. kaitm
    March 2, 2010 / 4:17 pm

    Animal kisses are one thing I can’t take…I don’t know, I just have never liked when my dogs get too close to my face. I’m just a little squeamish about doggie breath/licks.

  31. Sarah
    March 2, 2010 / 5:48 pm

    Oh yay! I’m so glad it went well! My husband and I thought that risotto was amazing. I’m glad the word is getting out.

    Now I want to make it again…

    I’m not opposed to doggie kisses (we have two dogs). My husband lets them lick him like crazy, but I’ll take just one.

  32. Karla
    March 2, 2010 / 5:50 pm

    My grandma has GERD. She sits for an hour after she eats and basically has a low fat diet. Is this fairly common?

  33. Mari
    March 2, 2010 / 6:25 pm

    Yums that rissotto looks delish! I don’t think animal kisses are gross…I love when koko gives me a kiss…unconditional love =) but now if he was one of those HUGE dogs that drool like beethoven, I might think differently! ha

  34. Faith
    March 2, 2010 / 7:00 pm

    I love the flavor of butternut squash so I’ll have to try this risotto! Great info on GERD. I actually do know someone who suffers pretty badly from it, and she really doesn’t do well managing her symptoms. I’m printing this post to share it with her…thanks, Nicole! πŸ™‚

  35. todayslady
    March 2, 2010 / 11:45 pm

    I let my dog kiss me and I don’t mind at all! That risotto looks so good, butternut squash is best!

  36. marla {Family Fresh Cooking}
    March 3, 2010 / 7:01 am

    This risotto looks awesome! Puppy kisses are cute but oh so sloppy. Lily is such a cutie, hard to say no to her πŸ™‚
    GERD sucks! Painful…

  37. Mallie Tingler
    March 27, 2010 / 1:55 pm

    This is a very good article, thanks! It’s the first time I visit your website, just found it via Bing. I’ve been browsing around and there’s a lot of quality work. But one thing… I tried to add it to my RSS Reader and just can’t. Maybe it’s a only something going on with me… I’ll send you an email if it continues!

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