Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bacon and Butternut Squash Risotto

I was sitting at the nail salon last week and they had on the Rachael Ray Show. I typically never watch her show, because it's on the same time as Nate and I adore Nate, but I was glad to catch it this time as she made this recipe! I went home and pinned it immediately.

This is a traditional risotto in that there is time and stirring involved. However, it's worth the effort for that creamy texture and rich taste. I couldn't get enough of it!

This makes a lot and would be the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table! Or, just a delicious meal at home.

Bacon and Butternut Squash Risotto
1 medium-large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling plus 2 tablespoons
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
Honey, for drizzling
1 quart chicken stock
1 generous pinch saffron threads
1/4 pound slab bacon or pancetta, diced
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
1 1/2 cups carnaroli or Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 to 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Place squash on baking sheet and dress with EVOO, salt, pepper, nutmeg and a drizzle of honey. Toss to combine then arrange in a single layer and roast to tender, 20 minutes. Remove half the squash to food processor and puree with a little water or stock.

Heat stock with saffron and 2 cups water in a saucepot. Keep warm over medium-low heat.

In a medium pot with rounded edges at bottom, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO over medium-high heat. Add bacon or pancetta and render to lightly crisp, 2-3 minutes. Add onions and garlic and stir to soften, 2-3 minutes more. Add rice and season with salt and pepper; toast 2 minutes, then stir in wine and let evaporate. Add a few ladles of stock at a time stirring rapidly with each addition to build starchy, creamy quality. Rice will take 18 minutes from first addition of liquid to cook to al dente.

Stir in squash puree and melt in butter. Add grated cheese and taste risotto for seasoning. Serve in shallow bowls garnished with reserved diced, roasted squash.

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