I had a mass of butternut squash from my garden this year, which is good because my husband and I just love it. So I've been trying to find new things to do with it that we can enjoy before my harvest is up. And since risotto is another one of our favorite things, I thought this would be perfect.
I cannot even begin to describe how much we both loved this risotto. Not only is it perfect for this time of the years, the flavors are just exceptional. The creamy risotto combined with the smokey bacon and earthiness of the squash is just a combination that cannot be beat. We absolutely loved this recipe and will certainly be making it again and again. Like my husband said last night, "Bacon, squash and risotto. How can this be bad?!"
And posting this amazing recipe today ended up being perfect because today's post is my 200th! I still can't believe I've posted over 200 recipes in less then a year...again I am reminded how glad I am that I started this blog to keep track of my recipes and share with you all some of our favorites!
Adapted from: Ina Garten
1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (I used low sodium)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced (I had to use thick cut American bacon since my store didn't carry pancetta)
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine (I omitted and substituted with chicken stock)
1 teaspoon saffron threads (I omitted)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
3 fresh sage leaves, minced (I added this)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.
In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (I completely omitted salt from the risotto because of the bacon and since I salted the squash itself. It was perfectly seasoned without any additional salt). Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes, sage and Parmesan. Mix well and serve.