Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our very Nashville Christmas

Our first Christmas in Nashville was a lovely affair! My brother, Bill, came in on Thursday evening and Vance and I kicked off the holiday weekend by taking him to 12 South Taproom for burgers & beer. Unfortunately, Vance worked through the holiday so he was up and out early every day. On Friday, my parents arrived from PA and we had a delicious Beef Bourguignon for dinner - following non-other than the acclaimed Julia Child's recipe. I made this dish on Tuesday night and let it marinate in the fridge. I will post about this recipe another day - let's just say it is a 4 hour process so don't plan to start it after a long day at work!
A few food highlights of the weekend include Whole Food's smoked gouda and vidalia onion dip - amazing. Mini crabcakes, a delicious cheese assortment, after dinner drinks, Mary Clark's creamed onions and, of course, turkey.
In honor of Breads 'n Cheese of Hershey (my first place of employment and one of my all-time favorite places), I make a cheese board every Christmas Eve. This year's assortment included a French Saint Andre (top - soft cheese), Dubliner Irish cheddar (clockwise - hard cheese), a goat's milk Gouda from Holland (semi-soft), Gorganzola (blue cheese from Italy), and Harvarti with dill (semi-soft/soft originally from Denmark). Under the tutelage of Diane and Niels Bilde, I learned a few important things about cheese. Allow cheese to warm up before serving, always use fresh plastic wrap (each time) when re-wrapping cheese, and garnish your cheese board with sweet fruits like grapes, berries and pears to cut the creaminess or dryness of the cheese. My favorite? Goat's milk Gouda is delicious!
Now that I addressed how we start a holiday (with cheese), I will address how we end a holiday (with drinks). Our pumpkin pie was accompanied by a pot of decaf and some delicious cordials.
Vance's favortie.
One of Mary Clark's favorites.
A great birthday gift from Jen Grimes and one of my top picks!
For next year, I need to purchase Creme de Menth and Galliano. More recipes from the holiday to come! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

keep calm and carry on...

This past Saturday was a day full of holiday preparation and excitement. I was going to own my (ever growing) to-do list and accomplish some serious Christmas food shopping, prepping & baking. Well - I did accomplish a lot, but in my hustle and bustle, I got too busy and made multiple blunders. Saturday taught me I need to slow down - and take things one step at a time. Whatever gets done - gets done.
First blunder - while cleaning our beautiful stemware in preparation for the holiday, I ever so slightly tapped one of the lovely after-dinner drink glasses that my mom and dad gave us, breaking off the delicate glass base. This, of course, sent me into a spiral of anxiety and tears. This is my first Christmas as a married woman (gulp), first Christmas away from home (tear), and obviously, my first Christmas entertaining my family (sugar!).

After the glass broke and I had a good cry (not just for the glass but all the change and endings that are happening this season), I made Blonde Bombers. If a chocolate chip cookie and a blonde brownie made love they would give birth to a Blonde Bomber. In one word - heavenly. UNLESS you forget to put the eggs in until the very last second. In this, as I experienced on Saturday, the delicious baked treat turns into cement on the outside and a brown sugary goo inside. Fail #2.
Lastly, I made baked brie. One for my Vanderbilt holiday party and one for the Clark's on Christmas Eve. Well one of them exploded and brie ran all over the cookie sheet. Fail #3.
The saving grace? Coconut macaroons by Ina. I love you Ina Garten.
This recipe is super fast and gives you about 25 macaroons.
  • 14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Folding is different from stirring!
Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using a small scoop or tablespoon. Cook for about 25 minutes or until golden. Melt chocolate with a little Crisco shortening (just about a teaspoon) in the microwave for about 2 minutes and drizzle over the macaroons. Cool and enjoy!
Remember to take a breath this holiday season, have a cup of tea, watch a 90210 re-run - if you don't take care of you, who will?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Whiskey Sour

Make yourself a cocktail and relax...

Whiskey Sour

1 small lemon wedge and a cherry
1/4 cup whiskey or bourbon
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, preferably organic
1 cup ice cubes
Mix ingredients in shaker and give a few hard shakes - pour into a short rocks glass with plenty of ice. Garnish with lemon and cherry. Enjoy!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Put the lime in the coconut...

I purchased a bag of shredded coconut last weekend to make some sort of chocolate macaroon situation - more to come I hope! With some much coconut, I thought I would also make some coconut shrimp. Inspired by A Cozy Kitchen, here is a great and easy shrimp recipe.
Coconut Shrimp:
20-25 medium shrimp - cleaned and peeled (I had a bag of frozen bite-size shrimp so I thawed some and used those)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
I sauteed peppers, onions and spinach in a little EVOO for a nice side veg.
Spicy Honey Drizzle:
2/3 cup honey
2 Tablespoons chili sauce like Sirracha
sea salt to taste
1. Pre-heat oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray with PAM (or grease with a little vegetable oil using a paper towel).
2. In a small bowl, season the shrimp with salt and pepper.
3. In a shallow dish combine flour, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. In another shallow dish, gently toss together the coconut, and breadcrumbs.
4. Dredge shrimp in the flour mixture and shake off any excess flour.
5. Then dip each shrimp into the beaten eggs, followed by the coconut mixture.
6. Shake off any excess coconut transfer your prepared baking sheet and transfer to pre-heated oven.

7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

10. For the honey drizzle: Place all ingredients into a small ramekin and mix.
11. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with warm shrimp.
Bite-size coconut shrimp with sauteed peppers, onions and spinach over cous cous.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's a Roast Chicken Dance Off...

A few months ago I made Ina Garten's Herb-Roasted Chicken and it was quite delicious. This past weekend - having missed Thanksgiving, I thought I would do a mock Thanksgiving dinner with a small chicken I had in the freezer. I did a bit of a spin-off of Julia Child's Herb, Lemon & Garlic Roasted Chicken.
  • 2 lemons, halved, juiced and halves reserved
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 sprigs sage
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed, unpeeled
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper as needed
  • 4-5 lb whole chicken
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
In a large mixing bowl, add the lemons and juice, thyme, sage, rosemary, garlic, melted butter, black pepper, and salt. Mix together and add the chicken to the bowl. 
Mix with your hands - this smells so good!
Turn the chicken to coat on all sides. Fill the cavity with the contents on the bowl, and tie the legs together with a piece of string. 

Choose a heavy-duty 9 x 13-inch metal or flame-proof glass baking dish, and add the onions (quartered and pulled apart) to the bottom. Place the chicken in the baking dish, and pour over the rest of the liquid. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, and season generously with salt, and place in a preheated 400 degrees F. oven for 1 hour 25 minutes, or until an internal temp of 165 degrees F. You may need to put a tin foil tent over the bird if it is getting too golden.

Remove the chicken to a plate and cover with foil again while you make the sauce.
Take the baking dish out of the oven and put it on a burner over medium high heat. Add about a 1/4 or so of water to the dish and scrape with wooden spoon to get up the brown bit. Bring to a boil to thicken a bit and set aside. After you let your chicken rest for about 5 to 10 minutes, slice and pour sauce and onions over the chicken.
I served my chicken with string beans sauteed with shallots, candied sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and corn bread. Yum!

 The final consensus between Julia and Ina's recipes - both are delicious, but I think the garlic and lots of lemon in Julia's made our chicken extra delicious. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Chicken Tikka for Thanksgiving

I am back from India! After a short flight to Chicago and then a 14 hour flight to Delhi, I arrived in India the day before Thanksgiving. On Thursday morning, a small group of us met at 1:00 a.m. (yes - 1:00 a.m.) and took a 5 hour bus ride to Agra for a visit to the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, lunch and shopping. 

After touring and shopping in New Delhi for a few days, I went to Mumbai and took in the 90 degree weather! The week was a bit of a whirlwind, but full of fun people and great memories. Now I am back and the holidays are in full swing! In a rush to catch up, the first thing I did this weekend was buy a potted evergreen and some decorations.
Vance surprised me with an "our first Christmas" ornament which is now proudly displayed on our little tree. Christmas cards are purchased, tree is done, next up is a wreath for the front door and table center piece. 'Tis the season!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pot Roast with Vegetable Gravy

I used my Dutch oven to make pot roast tonight...shhh - don't tell my crockpot. Sundays are typically crockpot days, but Ina Garten has a wonderful pot roast recipe that is done in a Dutch oven so the decision had to be made.
  • 1 (2-3 pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 chopped celery stalks
  • 1 chopped leek
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 cup good red wine, I used a Cab
  • 14 ounces whole plum tomatoes in puree (canned)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 2 branches fresh thyme
  • 2 branches fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature

Directions (adapted from Ina's recipe)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. I used kitchen twine to bind up the little sucker. This was like beef bondage - very hot. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned.
Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, beef broth, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. 
At this point your kitchen smells amazing and you will be sad because you are still a few hours
away from dinner.
Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. 
Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. 
Place in the oven for an hour, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 300 degrees F for another 40 minutes to keep the sauce at a simmer. Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and twine and discard. 
Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. 
Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.
Yum! This is a delicious meal on a chilly fall evening. I had a fair amount of leftover gravy so I am freezing and will buy a small cut of leaner meat and roast in the sauce for a quick weeknight meal. Pot roast meat (usually chuck roast) is quite fatty; next time I am trying a leaner cut. Serve with potatoes!

*Spicy* Chicken Saag and onion chutney

Amazing! This Indian dish is one of my true food loves and this week I thought, okay, it is time to try the chicken saag. A recipe from The Fresh Dish, it is relatively easy and just has a few steps. 

-1 large bunch of spinach (I used a full bag) chopped roughly (chopped finely if you don’t have a food processor)
-1 large yellow onion – chopped (reserve 1/3 cup if you want to make onion chutney)
-6 cloves garlic – peeled and diced
-About an inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
-2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
-1/2 cup plain yogurt
-2 Tbsp. cream 
-2 tsp. coriander
-1 tsp. turmeric
-1 tsp. cayenne pepper (adjust this based upon your tolerance for heat - important!)
-1 tsp. garam masala
-2 tsp. salt
-olive oil 
-1/2 – 3/4 cup water
My scotch 'n soda cocktail, enjoyed while cooking.

-Reserved 1/3 cup diced onion
-1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
-1 tsp. tomato paste
-2 tsp. sugar 

In a heavy bottom pan or Dutch oven, saute the chopped onion in oil until translucent. Add in the garlic and ginger and continue to cook for another few minutes.  Next add the spices: salt, turmeric, cayenne and coriander.  Stir the mix together and continue to cook over medium-low heat. You may have to add a bit more oil to keep the mixture "stirable." Your kitchen likely smells delicious at this point!

Cube the chicken and saute in a separate pan in a bit of oil and salt/pepper. Don't cook all the way through, set aside.

In the Dutch oven with the saag mixture, add in the spinach and water, cover and allow to wilt for a few minutes. Stir well and then pour into food processor. Pulse the processor a few times - don't over puree or it will be too soft.
Return to pan and mix in yogurt - stir well. Add the chicken, simmer for about 10 minutes - ensure chicken is cooked through. Add the cream and cook a bit more until hot. Serve over rice.
We had this with some Trader Joe's naan and it was delicious! Leftovers are in the freezer for Vance when I am traveling.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Tart

Another night alone. Boo. Vance is on his last night of overnight call for the week so I am, of course, cooking up a storm! On tap for tonight is World's Quickest Slow Cooker Applesauce to accompany a pork dinner this week and a  butternut squash & caramelized onion tart.
Savory tarts are a wonderful and easy way to feed a crowd to combine favorite ingredients. I think I will be making a tart as a Christmas hors d'oeuvre and tonight's tart featured beautiful fall squash.

-1 small butternut squash
-1 medium onion
-1 piece of puff pastry, thawed
-About 4 tablespoons EVOO
-2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
-1-2 tablespoons honey
-3/4 cup sour cream
-1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
-Pam spray
-Salt and Pepper

Peel and slice the squash and toss with about 2 tablespoons of EVOO, salt and pepper to taste and the chopped sage. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Spray a small cookie sheet/jelly roll pan with Pam and unroll the puff pastry, pressing into corners. Prick the dough a few times for a fork. Spread the sour cream on the pastry and top with crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle the honey over top the cream and cheese.
While the squash is roasting, peel and slice the onion and saute (in a bit of EVOO) on low for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the squash and onions are ready assemble the tart with squash and onions on top. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until crust is golden.

Allow to cool and cut the tart with a pizza cutter. Pairing a tart with a nice salad or soup makes a great lunch/dinner option. Now I am going to relax and take in my Sunday night shows and test the applesauce. Have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Love in a bowl.

As we all know, I am in the throws of a love affair...with my slow cooker. During Vance's precious and rare "golden weekends" (Saturday and...wait for it...Sunday off!), the last thing I want to do is be in the kitchen cooking all day. An overnight oatmeal and spicy sausage stew were just what we needed to eat well and still enjoy the beautiful Nashville fall weather! On Sunday we ventured out to Percy Warner Park and did about a 4.5 mile hike. 
To start our day, Autumn Oatmeal. Steel cut oatmeal is delicious and healthy. I used McCann's in the past, but upon comparing prices, I purchased Quaker Steel Cut Oats.

  • 1 apple, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, additional milk or butter

Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours. Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.

To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Dinner, spicy sausage & lentil stew over brown rice inspired by A Year of Slow Cooking.

  • 1 cup lentils (rinsed well, for this slow cooker recipe you do not need to soak overnight)
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 (12-ounce) package sausage - I used a spicy pork, but you could use chicken & apple, turkey...anything!
  • 2 large peel and chopped carrots
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 9 ounces (or so) fresh spinach (to add at the very end)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme
  • 2 small or 1 large bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt

Slice the sausage into small chunks and put into slow cooker. Mix all ingredients together in the slow cooker and set on low for about 5 hours (until sausage is cooked all the way through and lentils are soft). Add the spinach about 15 minutes the dish is done - it will wilt and cook down. I served this dish over brown rice, but in hindsight you don't need rice at all. Perhaps a crusty piece of bread and small salad will do! Enjoy!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Korean Beef Tacos

Vance has been working nights this week and last night was his first evening off in a while. To kick off our weekend, I made Korean Shredded Beef with a spicy slaw for some delicious tacos (using my beloved slow cooker). 

2 pound cut of beef (I used chuck roast)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 soy sauce
4 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, diced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 whole jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin, sweetened sake
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Combine everything but the beef in a bowl and stir. Place the beef in the slow cooker and salt and pepper the meat. Add sauce to slow cooker and distribute. Set cooker to low and cook for about 6-7 hours. About an hour before you will serve, cut the meat (this will help to shred). After you remove the beef, shred with a fork or pulse in the food processor with shredding blade.

Package of broccoli slaw or shredded cabbage
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
few dashes of Tabasco
Mix all together until well-blended

Assemble warmed tortillas (corn or flower) with beef and slaw...enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Chicken, goat cheese, caramelized onion & spinach quesadillas

Chicken, goat cheese, caramelized onion & spinach quesadillas - that is quite a mouthful, huh? Literally! After enjoying a rotisserie chicken, I had some left over meat that I wanted to use up. I, obviously, made chicken stock and froze it for soup or risotto, and with the meat I made quesadillas.
This picture is from Betterreicpes.com and includes tomatoes. Quesadillas are a great way to finish up some leftovers.
1/3 cup corn oil
4 Whole grain tortillas
4 oz goat cheese, spreadable
1 medium onion, sliced
5 oz (half a package) of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
leftover chicken, pulled/shredded
Salt & Pepper
other leftovers or additions like sauteed tomatoes, corn, jalapenos!

-Slowly sautee your sliced onion in about 2 tablespoons of corn oil until translucent. I sometimes add a bit of sugar and salt to season. 
-Assemble quesadilla - goat cheese, salt and pepper, spinach, caramelized onions, chicken, more goat cheese (on the other tortilla), put second tortilla on top and press down to seal.
-Over medium heat, add a bit more corn oil to the pan and sautee about 4 minutes on each side until lightly brown, flip and cook the other side.
-Remove from heat and let sit for about 2 minutes, slice and serve with salsa and sour cream!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin? Yes, please!

There is nothing like pumpkin to get you ready for fall! Turkey Pumpkin Chili is one of my favorite fall comfort foods and is a cinch in the slow cooker. I made a large pot of chili and gave half to our friends, who just had the most beautiful baby boy, Rowan!
Chili with all the fixin's - chips, cheddar, sourcream, green onions, cilantro, cornbread...the list goes on!
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium sized peppers, diced (I like to use 1 red and 1 green)
1 lb ground turkey
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp oregano
2-3 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 small can diced green chili peppers
15oz can white beans
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
14 oz can diced tomatoes
15 oz can pumpkin puree

Spray a large pan with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium heat. Brown turkey meat and drain off water. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Home for a minute!

Last week was super busy but fun! Over the course of the week, I visited Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Denver for work. I definitely missed being able to cook something for myself so on Sunday morning we had a delicious brunch of sweet potato hash with poached eggs and coffee. This hash recipe could easily make for a delicious dinner if paired with a salad or filet of fish instead of eggs.
This recipe is adapted from A Cozy Kitchen and is delicious!

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Hash and Eggs
Olive oil
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed

Hot pepper like a jalapeno if you like some spice, seeds removed, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 eggs, poached

In a skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and when hot, add the sweet potato and yellow onion. Add the cumin, paprika, to the sweet potato mixture and mix. Stirring regularly, cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are cooked. Be sure to give the largest cubes of sweet potato a taste to make sure they’re thoroughly cooked.

Add the red bell pepper to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes. Next, mix in the minced garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant. Add hot pepper if using. Taste for salt and pepper and add what you think it necessary.

Place over low heat to keep warm while you poach the eggs. Top with 3 poached eggs and serve. Perfect poached egg :) Sometimes the easiestest parts are the hardest!

Served 2 very hungry and slightly hung over adults!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Butternut & Saffron Risotto

After a long week, a slow cooked risotto hit the spot. Ina Garten always gets it right!
                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 - I used Sauvignon Blanc - a glass for me and a glass for risotto!
                1 teaspoon saffron threads (I used a little less because they are so expensive!)
                1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

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 at 400 degrees or about 20 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. 
Simmer sauce as you combine other items.
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 to stir as you ladle in the heated 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 cheese. Mix well and serve. This dish is delicious and makes for a perfect fall dinner. Serve with sauteed spinach or salad and bread.