Falling for RisottoPosted: November 4, 2011
Even though recent weather would lead me to believe that winter is here, it really IS still fall. But besides apples, I have yet to make anything with classic autumnal (yes, I said autumnal) flavors like pumpkin and squash.
But now I can cross one of them off my list. Say hello to butternut squash, people! It’s been roasted and seasoned and mixed into creamy risotto. This is one warm and cozy dish you’ll easily fall for. (Yes, fall. Har-har.)
Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
– 3 cups of peeled & cubed butternut squash
– 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
– 3 ½ cups of chicken broth
– 2 slices of bacon, diced
– 1 cup of onion, finely diced
– 1 ½ cups of Arborio rice
– ½ cup of white wine
– ¼ cup of grated Parmesan
– Ground thyme
– Ground sage
– Lemon juice
– Olive oil
– Salt & pepper
Heat your oven to 400º.
Place the cubed squash on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and toss. Season with salt and pepper and then roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until squash is golden and tender. Give it a stir a few times while it roasts. For the last five minutes or so that it’s in the oven, add a ½ tablespoon of minced garlic. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside.
While the squash roasts, bring the chicken broth and ¼ cup of water to a simmer in a medium pot. Keep this warm over low heat.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp. Place on a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Cook the onions on medium heat until soft, adding more oil if necessary. Add the additional ½ tablespoon of garlic and cook for a another minute. Add the Arborio rice and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Then stir in the white wine and cook for 1 minute or until the wine is absorbed into the rice.
Next, add the broth mixture, ½ cup at a time and stirring constantly, to the rice. When full absorbed (this should take a few minutes), add another ½ cup of broth. Repeat this process until all of the broth has been absorbed into the rice. It may seem laborious, but the key to good risotto is making sure the rice cooks slowly and absorbs liquid so in the end it’s flavorful and creamy.
Once all of the broth has been absorbed, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan and roasted squash and season with thyme, sage, additional salt & pepper, and the lemon juice. I used generous sprinkles of thyme and sage, a good squirt of lemon juice, a little salt and a lot of freshly cracked pepper. Plate, top with some bacon and an extra sprinkle of Parmesan if you want, and eat.
You can easily make this risotto vegetarian if that’s your thing. Just omit the bacon and substitute veggie stock for the chicken broth.