This week's BB recipe was for Butternut Squash Risotto, chosen by Rachel of Rachel Likes to Cook. I LOVE risotto so I was excited to make this. I've made it in the past, but not for a while because, while he loves most all other Italian food, my husband doesn't particularly care for it. This has decidedly un-Italian ingredients in it, but it was not a disappointment! I halved the recipe since husband is out of town.
First off, the butternut squash. There's almost nothing I hate more than peeling and cutting butternut squash. But I was saved by Trader Joe's- they carry packages of cut & peeled squash (you can bet that's the only reason I used it in the recipe. I REALLY hate peeling it). Roasted in olive oil and salt & pepper (a side note: I just saw today- does Rachael Ray SERIOUSLY say "S&P" for salt & pepper?!!!), the squash was tender and sweet.
I substituted the pancetta for ham and added mushrooms. Also, saffron is not in my cupboard and definitely NOT in the budget since I would never use it again, so I added 1/4 t of curry powder to give it a different kick. I also omitted the parmesan since I didn't think it would taste good with the curry powder.
As usual, the cooking seemed to be going right on schedule, but as the risotto absorbed more liquid the process got slower and slower. Mine took longer than a total of 30 minutes- the last ladels of stock took probably 15 minutes alone to absorb. Well worth it, however.
The thing I love about risotto is it's so versatile- you can uaw any number of ingredients to mix it up! It takes a while to cook, but ordering it at a restaurant is always pricey so it's worth making it at home. Especially when it's so easy!
Butternut Squash Risotto
by Ina Garten
1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
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. 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 and Parmesan. Mix well and serve.
(yes, Melissa, I ended up making it tonight. I only tasted a little- maybe the girls will eat it tomorrow? Fingers crossed...)