A Risotto Surprise


My bowl of winter squash is overflowing!

I knew I needed (and wanted) to try a new recipe using one of my favorite fall ingredients, and, since the Food & Wine Blogger Correspondent Program goes until the end of the week, I had a great excuse to go searching.


Plus, remember dinner from Tuesday night? Thrown together in a hurry, no plan whatsoever, lucky we even had a meal?

Last night was the total opposite, and I loved every minute that I was in the kitchen.


The chicken was easy and mostly hands-off. I had some organic/free range chicken (a whole one, cut up) that I coated with some olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Rotisserie seasoning and cooked them on a roasting rack at 400 degrees for just under an hour.

While the chicken was roasting, I got working on the sides.


I used this delicious looking recipe from Food & Wine as my inspiration tonight:

Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Pancetta

And, as usual, I made some changes!

  • I cut the entire recipe in half since I didn’t need 8 servings
  • Thick sliced Virginia bacon in place of the pancetta
  • No wine – didn’t have any!
  • No butter – just olive oil and bacon fat left in the pan

But the most surprising change?

I used steel cut oatmeal instead of rice!


After having rice last night (both with dinner and in the failed rice pudding), I really didn’t want to cook another rice dish for dinner.

So I pulled out a cup of steel cut oats and let them work their magic in the pan. It makes sense – oats get creamy when you cook them, and that’s what you want from the rice in risotto, too. As long as you use a grain that will release some of its starchiness, it’ll turn out great!

Nick couldn’t believe it was oatmeal.

The risotto, chicken, and roasted green beans went perfectly together. This definitely has to be one of my favorite meals lately.


PS: Don’t forget to enter below! The contest ends Friday – good luck!

FOOD & WINE is giving away a year-long subscription to a lucky reader from BranAppetit.  Click here to enter and read official rules here.

This post is part of a series featuring recipes from the FOOD & WINE archive.  As a FOOD & WINE Blogger Correspondent, I was chosen to do four recipes a week from FOOD & WINE.  I received a subscription to FOOD & WINE for my participation.



  1. I like this twist on risotto. Looks good!

  2. Your dinner looks delicious! I’ve never had risotto before but I have always wanted to. Looks great!

  3. Is it normal to be jealous over someone else’s squash? Because I am…

  4. I have yet to use oats in a savory dish. I need to try it out!

  5. fabulous swap for steel cut oats :)

  6. Nummy recipe! I love, love, love winter squash. :)

  7. What a creative dish Brandi, I love that you used the oats – so creative and I bet it was delicious!

  8. Oh wow–using oats is a brilliant idea!

  9. That’s a brilliant swap! It looks so yummy!

  10. this sounds fabulous… I am definitely going to make this, thanks for sharing !

  11. Genius idea! And I love butternut squash in risotto so I bet it was delicious! :)

  12. Wow, I love the idea of using oats instead of rice–I would have never thought of it! & yay for tons of winter squash :)

  13. Looks so yummy! I’m jealous of your squash collection- I need to get out there and buy some!!

  14. I never in a millions years would have thought you could sub oats for rice in risotto – glad it worked out for you!

    My MIL knows I don’t like onions, so she dices up apples in her risotto – so good!

  15. Awesome! I’ve made butternut squash risotto before but the addition of pancetta must send it out of the park! Definitely need to try this!

  16. Rizotto is on my list of things to cook next, I just might have to try this recipe! Get my fill of pumpkin for the fall and cross Rizotto off my list all in one dish!

Comments are closed.