Thursday, January 27, 2011

Butternut Squash Rice Casserole

I picked up two butternut squash recently at a local farmer's market in the area.  I pureed one of them and decided to roast the other one for this new and different recipe

Fact: I have always been indifferent to squash.  I could take them or leave them. On its own, I don't think squash has much flavor.  Yet cooked in pastas, barbecues, casseroles or soups, they add a lot.  Squash has health benefits of course but not as much as for example, broccoli or carrots.  Therefore I don't cook with the vegetable very often.  However after this delicious recipe, I may be adding it more frequently into my meal plan. 

Butternut Squash Rice Casserole
(Serves 6-8)

Adapted from Cooking Light

1 medium butternut squash - sliced or pureed (about 1 and 1/2 cups)
2 cups of all natural chicken broth, fat-free and less sodium
1 cup of water
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of short grain rice, uncooked
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, divided in half
1/4 cup of cooking white wine
1/2 tbsp of savory spice
1/2 tbsp of rosemary spice
1/3 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

If your butternut squash is not already pre-cooked or pureed, then roast it in the oven. Do this by cutting the squash in half and placing the insides downward in a greased pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before handling.  Then remove the seeds and membranes and scoop out the squash for the casserole (or you can scoop them out BEFORE you roast them.  I've done it both ways). 

Generously grease an 11 x 7 (2 Qt) baking pan with cooking spray.  Set aside. Place oven at 400 degrees. 

In a large skillet, sautee the onion and garlic until brown, about five minutes.  Then add the uncooked rice and saute them all together for about two minutes.   Meanwhile in a medium sauce pan, bring the chicken broth, water, savory and rosemary to a boil.  After it bubbles, remove it from heat and add it to the skillet-rice mixtures.  Then toss in your chopped or pureed squash.  Pour in the wine, thyme, salt, pepper and half of the Parmesan cheese.  Cook everything together for about seven minutes in the skillet.  Then pour it into the 11 x 7 greased baking pan.  Spread it out evenly.  Sprinkle with the remaining half (1/4 cup) of Parmesean cheese.  Bake for 35 minutes in the oven. 

It will look like this (picture below) and it will have your kitchen smelling wonderful! 

Remove from the oven and let it cool for about five minutes before serving.  This makes a great side dish.  However, I have to wonder if adding chicken or pork could make it a fabulous, stand-alone meal by itself.  Maybe I'll try that in the future.  I guess I haven't given squash enough credit.  But this is one side dish that I enjoyed and liked even better the next day.  I would definitely make it again!

How do you feel about squash?  Do you cook with it often?  Maybe I just need a squash support group!  ;-)  LOL!


  1. Didn't used to be a lover, but I'm a fan now. Love a good butternut squash soup. You can remove the seeds and innards before you roast it. Probably not as messy to do it that way! To anyone that might try this - make sure you have a good, STRONG knife or it will get stuck in the squash :)

  2. I love squash! did you sue this as a side dish or the main dish?

  3. @ Jess - I've scooped out the seeds both before and after roasting the squash. Either way works for me. But thanks, I edited my post to include that.

    @ Anne - I cooked mine as a side dish but it may make a great main dish for someone else. Or you can add chicken or pork to it and serve it as the main course! Let me know if you try it and vary it up.


  4. I know I would like this casserole. It sounds delicious. I'm new to your blog and have spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I really like the food and recipes you feature here. I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  5. I'm not a huge veggie fan so this looks like a good way to get me eating and cooking them. Looks great.

    Plan B