Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Butternut Squash Risotto

O-M-G.
This was one of the best dishes I have ever made- quite possibly one of the best dishes I have ever eaten. I was skeptical on the combination of butternut squash and pancetta (or in my case, bacon), but it was more delicious than I ever imagined it could be. The wonderful flavors of the risotto paired nicely with the roasted butternut squash. We served this as a side dish to this beef tenderloin, and it was the perfect accompaniment. We also paired this dish with a baby spinach salad with praline pecans, Craisins, and diced pears. It was a beautiful and ever-so-delicious dish... though in honesty, I could have just eaten this dish alone and been completely satisfied. One of my favorite Ina dishes.

Ingredients:
1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced (Used 3 slices of bacon)
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1-1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp saffron threads (Omitted)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups.
3. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.
4. Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.
5. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the bacon first. Once it is partially cooked, add shallots on medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned.
6. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter.
7. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes.
8. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. 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.
9. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan. Mix well and serve.

Source: Ina Garten

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