one-pot cheesy sausage & butternut squash orzotto
how do i love thee, orzo? let me count the ways.
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happy thanksgiving week and happy birthday to my mama,
this is a weird thanksgiving for many of us.
i gave myself 24 hours to feel fully, 100% bummed out about having to cancel our trip down to coronado to be with friends for thanksgiving. sometimes the best way to get over being bummed is just to allow yourself to be bummed, and stew in your bummed-out-ness, and not attempt to talk yourself out of being bummed. then you get bored of being bummed and are forced to move on. i also drank a few margaritas. are you shocked?!
twenty-four hours was all i needed, and now i’m able to look at the bright side again. we love our home in carmel valley so much, and now we get to spend our first holiday season here! we’re going to go pick out our tree next weekend! i hate turkey anyway! we pivoted and are currently spending a few days with my sister and her family in ojai, and that feels pretty perfect.
but let’s talk about one-pot spicy sausage & butternut squash orzotto. you’re being inundated with thanksgiving recipes this week - so here’s a quick, easy, one-pot meal for someday this week that isn’t thanksgiving
the squash gets so tender, and melts right into the creamy orzotto. you can use mild or spicy italian sausage - i highly recommend spicy if you don’t have wimpy kids dictating dinnertime. mattis can’t even eat pepper without crying out in agony, so i feel your pain. stirring in a couple handfuls of spinach at the end is also a great plan - i like to do this with one-pot meals so that i don’t have to make a side salad to get my greens in. who am i kidding - we don’t eat greens every night! but stirring some spinach into your cheesy orzo is an easy way to do it.
enjoy it and please tag me @carochambers on Instagram when you make it!
One-Pot Cheesy Sausage & Squash Orzotto
Serves 6 to 8
Large heavy-bottomed pot or saucepan (I use my Le Creuset Braiser)
1 pound spicy Italian sausage
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch cubes (2 to 3 cups)
1 large shallot, minced
6 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups orzo pasta
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups ( 6 ounces) grated aged Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh Parsley
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Juice of 1 lemon
Add 1 pound ground sausage to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, breaking it up with a spatula, until it starts to let off a bit of grease, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 pound of cubed butternut squash and and a large splash of water and continue cooking for 4 to 5 minutes until the squash is beginning to feel tender and the sausage is cooked through. If the skillet gets dry at any point, add another little splash of water.
Add 1 large, minced shallot and 6 minced garlic cloves and continue cooking until they’re soft, about 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups orzo, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes and toast for about 30 additional seconds.
Stir in 4 cups chicken stock and 1 cup whole milk and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low, cover, and cook for 13 to 16 minutes, or until orzo and squash are tender.
Remove skillet from heat.
Stir in 1 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup finely chopped Parsley, and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. As you stir, smash the squash to combine it into the orzo.
If at any point the orzo seems too thick, and loses it’s “risotto-like” consistency, stir in a splash of water.
Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and taste. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
Serve with lots of fresh parm and parsley on top.
Sausage: if you can’t find the kind in a tube, buy links and cut them out of their casings!
Orzo: can’t find it? Use arborio or any kind of white rice instead. I am not sure how a pasta noodle would swap in!
You can use ANY ground meat, just double the salt, garlic powder, and lemon juice.
Butternut squash: buy the smallest one you can, and use the whole thing. Exact amount is not important here. Or, buy the pre-cut kind, but you need to cut it smaller than it comes! Cut each piece in half or quarters.
Gouda would also be delish! Monterey Jack or mozzarella are less flavorful, but more ooey gooey! I seriously considered goat cheese for the lead role - I encourage you to do it!
Could you swap cauliflower for some of the risotto?
Forgot to buy orzo (hand to face) so swapped mini bowtie pasta and it came out so so good! I just cut the liquid measurement to 3 cups :) delish