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Appetizers and Sides

Roasted Butternut Squash, Chicken and Parmesan Risotto

Happy Wednesday everyone! It’s so weird to say that I’m actually a CA resident. Newport Beach is a very exciting place to be and is gorgeous. Here are a couple of things I’ve learned the few days we’ve been here:

  • Range Rovers seem to be the vehicle of choice around this town. They are EVERYWHERE making my Honda Accord look really sad! We like to see how many of them will pull up along side of us at each stop light.
  • The women really do dress up to go to the grocery store. It’s funny that I poke fun at my header with the high heels, but it’s really true here!
  • Awesome Produce is available and I can hardly wait to map out some farmer’s markets around town. I just found the BEST Whole Foods Market. I am going to have so much fun there!
  • I LOVE having the beach 10 minutes away. This will cure any bad day, I’m sure of it.

Even though it feels like we’re just vacationing and I’ll be returning home to AZ soon, I’m looking forward to all the adventures we come across here in this peculiar little fancy town.

Here’s my first recipe out of my new CA kitchen. I love risotto, this one is warm, wintery and delicious. Don’t be afraid of the butternut squash, it is to die for when roasted in the oven. Click HERE and HERE to see how to peel and dice one up, it’s really easy and a great vegetable to introduce to the kids, they’ll think it’s a carrot! Hope you all enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash, Chicken and Parmesan Risotto

2 Cups fresh butternut squash, diced into 1/2 inch cubes (see links above to properly dice one)

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon Lawry’s garlic salt with parsley

1 Tablespoon butter

12 oz bag Arborio rice

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

4 Cups chicken broth

1/2 Cup fresh grated Parmesan Cheese

2 Cups cooked chicken, cubed

1/4 Cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 thin slices prosciutto, julienned for garnish (you can also substitute crumbled bacon for the prosciutto)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash, olive oil, salt and garlic salt into a large bowl; toss to combine and pour onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

2. In the meantime, melt butter in a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Stir in rice and onion; cook and stir for 5 minutes, until onions are softened. Stir in garlic for 1 minute. Stir in ½ Cup of chicken broth, stirring constantly. As the broth gets soaked up, stir in another ½ Cup until broth, continuing this process until broth is used up and rice is cooked. Then stir in Parmesan cheese, chicken and parsley. Stir in butternut squash right before serving.

3. Garnish each bowl with a pinch of prosciutto and a sprig of parsley if desired.

6 servings


We had to take the boys to the beach our first night, it was freezing, but they loved it!


Have a great week everyone! I’ll be back with some more quick fix weeknight meals, I gotta lay off the sweets for a while, but not for too long!

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53 Responses | Comments RSS

  1. 1
    Nikki says:

    The produce in CA is the best!! I had to move from CA to Arkansas for my husband’s job and I nearly cried every time I went to the grocery store! Have many fun adventures with your new move.

  2. 2
    Katherine Aucoin says:

    I miss Whole Food Market, they are none here; they do have the best produce. Your risotto looks so rich and creamy. I’d love a big bowl of this right now!

  3. 3
    Barbara Bakes says:

    I’m so jealous! My favorite beach to go to when we lived in CA was Newport! I also miss the fresh produce!

  4. 4
    Kaitlin says:

    Jenny this looks awesome! I bet your new home is fabulous, and the beach shots are gorgeous!

  5. 5
    Allie says:

    So glad you’re learning your way around so soon. I’m so jealous you’re in CA! I told my husband that’s one place I could settle in really fast with the beach near by and all the fun stuff to do. You’re risotto looks so yummy!

  6. 6
    EJacks says:

    This looks so good! And I think I have almost all the ingredients at home. 🙂

  7. 7
    Prudy says:

    How fun to live in Newport. I grew up not far from there. We end up there every summer still for at least a weekend, and usually in the winter too for a little bit. It’s a lot easier to find a parking spot in the winter!

  8. 8
    carol says:

    Oh those pictures of you and your family on the beach look SO inviting…I’m seeing snow, sleet and freezing rain out my window….YUCK!
    This risotto look wonderful…maybe. just MAYBE this would be a way to get my husband to eat butternut squash…if not…all the more for me!!!!

  9. 9
    Tina ♥ says:

    We sometimes vacation there and it is gorgeous! We go to the Newport Beach Coast villas. Living there sounds like a dream! Thanks for all the yummy recipes.

  10. 10
    Bunny says:

    10 minutes away from the beach huh? Guess who’s gonna be having lots of guests visiting for the summer !! This looks so good Jenny,a great winter dinner!

  11. 11
    Sara says:

    Yummy this recipe looks great! I love Newport Beach and I bet your kids will love being the beach.

  12. 12
    Mary Ann says:

    Jenny- I am dying to try this! I am in love with butternut squash- we are eating it a couple times a week and risotto is also a new-found love. I made it twice last week.
    This looks great- I am glad you are loving your new home.
    I would love to be that close to the beach too.

  13. 13
    Bob says:

    That looks so good. What a great combo of flavors. But hey, you never did that tag thing I hit you with! Heh, no stress in reality though, I’m just busting chops. 😉

  14. 14
    Jenn says:

    Jenny! I had no idea you were moving to CA! I live right near you, in Tustin. And yes, that Whole Foods in Irvine at the District (if that’s not the one you’re talking about, you HAVE to go see it) is FANTASTIC! Email me [email protected] if you want info on good farmers’ markets! Welcome to the OC!

  15. 15
    Meg says:

    Oh man does that recipe look amazing! Great pics!

  16. 16
    Amber says:

    You could wear a garbage sack to the grocery store and look amazingly gorgeous! And I am excited to try your risotto recipe! I was very afraid the first time I made risotto, but it’s actually reall easy!

  17. 17
    CraftyT says:

    Welcome to California. I just mmoved back to Northern California after 8 months in South Carolina.

    I love it here and yes the produse is the BEST. I can drive 30 minutes any directions and be near farms where I can get the produce right off the trucks.

    Makes eating fun. I love your BLOG I have only been reading it for a few weeks but I love the dishes you prepare.

  18. 18
    The Curtis Family says:

    I can’t wait to try this — it looks like a dish I had at Brio a couple of months ago.

    Side note: Fisher had a breakdown over the holidays about how all his best friends (Sol and Mason) have moved. I’m not talking just a little sadness. Serious sobbing. It was so sad. I hope your guys (and you!) are making new friends and loving Newport! Jealous!!

  19. 19
    Lisa says:

    Your risotto looks delicious. Newport Beach is so nice. We went to a wedding there years ago. I am finally caught up from the holidays and now able to be back blog reading.

  20. 20
    Leslie says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your family have a darling family!

  21. 21
    Beth says:

    Glad you are enjoying it! I love butternut squash – this is going to be a must try

  22. 22
    Mila says:

    That looks beautiful! I wish I had a nice beach 10 minutes away from me 🙁

  23. 23
    hot garlic says:

    I can’t believe how well you’ve kept up on your blog through all of your chaos and holidays and moving! You really are Super Woman! I love risotto and this looks like a good one.

  24. 24
    Ashlee says:

    Hi Jenny –

    I know you visited Ranch market in Mesa…there is a great produce market near Newport in Costa Mesa by Triangle Square called Grower’s Direct. Good prices and fresh stuff….also the farmer’s market at UCI on Saturday mornings is great! 🙂 Enjoy.

  25. 25
    Anne says:

    I love the pics of your family on the beach! It looks like you guys are settling in nicely and I can’t wait to see some more wonderful dinners. 🙂 (PS I have an Accord too!)

  26. 26
    Rachelle says:

    Welcome to Ca sunshine! Isn’t California grand! I love it here. I’m down in San Diego, and I think we only have a couple of Whole Foods here. I’m loving Trader Joe’s down the road from me though.

    This dish looks great, and I’ve been meaning to try risotto sometime.

  27. 27
    Candy says:

    Looks like a fun place!

  28. 28
    Beth G. says:

    Welcome to Cali!! I grew up in the NB area, it’s awesome! Feel free to shoot me an email anytime for restaurant, car mechanic or any suggestions of stuff in general! [email protected]

  29. 29
    CookiePie says:

    That risotto looks fabulous, and your family is so beautiful! Hope you find great happiness in your new home for many years to come 🙂

  30. 30
    Girl Japan says:

    I agree, Produce is the best… is this just a vay-cay? Will you be moving soon? I lived in Orange County for a few years got used to it but honestly.. when I was to tired to dress and shop in heels, I through ha swanky overcoat on. Could not get away with that during the summer though…

    No matter where you are.. just be yourself.. I am loving the recipe.. squash is a favorite of mine.

    Japan seems like the OC on steroids..

  31. 31
    Bonnie says:

    Jenny, I LOOOOVE Whole Foods. They have the best produce and their deli sandwiches and salads are to die for! That is the cutest picture of you and your little guy at the beach. You look beautiful!

  32. 32
    That Girl says:

    1) Range Rovers are what stands out to you? Keep driving – the countless Bentleys, Hummers, and Porsches are what amazed me when I moved to Orange County.
    2) I agree with Jenn if you’re talking about the Whole Foods at the District, but for something that may be a little closer – make sure to check out the market in the food court at Fashion Island. It’s a little pricey, but FANTASTIC.
    3) The UCI Farmer’s Market is probably the best in the area. The one in Corona Del Mar, while closer probably is pretty pathetic. If you’re up for the drive, my favorite is in San Clemente.

  33. 33
    Emily says:

    I’m jealous you live so close to the beach.
    That’s funny about the high heels. Are you going to start wearing high heels now just to fit in?

    The risotto sounds amazing. I’m a fan of the butternut. It goes great in Baked Butternut Four Cheese Farfalle with Sage.

    Can’t wait to see you on the desserts show!

  34. 34
    Catherine Wilkinson says:

    Oh no! Watch out for the Housewives of Orange County! They look mean! I’m so glad you’re getting settled and the boys love the beach! But we’ll miss you here in Arizona!

  35. 35
    Doublebanker says:

    I’d rather be at the beach when it cold than in nebraska!

  36. 36
    My Sweet & Saucy says:

    I am so glad you are loving CA…can’t wait to meet up sometime!

  37. 37
    Patsyk says:

    Sounds like you’ve moved to a wonderful place! I would love to have the beach only 10 minutes away!

    Love your dinner… such a complete meal.

  38. 38
    Carrian says:

    I miss that about Cali!! We always went to the farmers markets the summer we lived there.

  39. 39
    Emily says:

    Jenny I am glad that you are settled in Cali! You look like you fit right in with the other beach goers! (Gorgeous blond . . .) I too am a risotto lover . . . I think I made it 3 or 4 times in one week this fall during my brief obsession! It looks so inviting and d-lish! Good luck in CA!

  40. 40
    ~*Liz*~ says:

    Mmmmmmmmm. I just bought some butternut squash this weekend. I will have to use it in this dish!



  41. 41
    Aggie says:

    Welcome to CA!! Wow, I’m so excited for you Jenny. How fun it will be for you to explore your new beautiful surroundings!

    Your risotto looks really awesome and comforting!

  42. 42
    Pamela says:

    Good luck in the new place! You are definitely not alone in laying off the sweets for a bit! The risotto looks wonderful, especially with the prosciutto on top.

  43. 43
    DandL says:

    Good Luck in CA! I am glad you like it. I have never made risotto…glad to have a recipe! Thanks!!

  44. 44
    Jess says:

    Seriously I can’t tell you how jealous I am right now!!!! Take in plent of that ocean breeze for me!!Hope you’re settling in well. I am making some of your soup tonight. Thanks Jenny

  45. 45
    Bridgett says:

    Maybe one day when I am down there visiting our friends I will run into you! I’ll be the one in the Range Rover 😉

  46. 46
    Libby says:

    Up Next: The Next Food Network Star! I’m so proud of you!! Can’t wait to watch you. Loved your video.

  47. 47
    Anna says:

    That is one thing I remember about San Francisco — the produce! I honestly was never really excited about produce until I went to California. Now I know what we’re missing down here in Texas.

  48. 48
    Little Ken says:

    I gotta tell ya. I googled “butternut squash and chicken” after checking and finding nothing. There you were with a delicious recipe for tonight’s dinner. Don’t know why I didn’t just check your site first like I usually do. Lesson learned 🙂 Thanks for recipe!

  49. 49
    Beth says:

    Jenny, your blog is great. I am so amazed that you are a mother of two and have time to come up with new recipes, take pictures and write about them. You are amazing. I want to try so many of your recipes. I started tonight with the risotto. It was delicious. I’ve never tried butternut squash and loved it. I have a question though. I had to add an extra cup of chicken stock in order to get the rice cooked through. Did I do something wrong? I cooked it for five minutes (without the onions because my husband can’t eat them) before adding the garlic. I added the stock slowly and let it soak into the rice. I’m wondering if it needed to get really dry before adding each addition of stock. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I really appreciate your help. I can’t wait to watch your URS show. I’m new to contesting and it has been so much fun. You are an inspiration.

  50. 50
    Jenny says:

    Hi Beth,
    My guess is that you needed to cook down the broth a little more before adding the next batch of broth. The one thing about risotto is it’s so time consuming. I hope that it still turned out good even with the additional broth. Thanks for your comment and best of luck in all of your contesting!

  51. 51
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Jenny Flake

Welcome to Picky Palate, my online kitchen! You'll usually find me with a cookie in one hand and a salad in the other. It's all about the balance :) The recipes you'll see are my creations. The Picky Palate Cookbook is now available. Enjoy!