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.

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