Thursday, 9 October 2008

Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash

This week in Barefoot Blogging, Butternut Squash Risotto was chosen by Rachel of Rachel Likes to Cook. The recipe can be found in Barefoot Contessa Family Style on page 86.

This is the first time I have made a proper risotto and I loved it. It was very good and very filling. My daughter ate two bowls.

I used a thick cut bacon instead of pancetta and used 4 oz. rather than 2 as two ounces would have been just one and a half strips of bacon and that did not seem nearly enough. Also - my butternut squash weighed 3lbs rather than Ina's 2lbs. but can you really have too much roasted butternut squash? I didn't think so.

I manned the chicken stock, I stirred, I ladled and stirred some more. All while watching Pushing Daisies. Did anyone else see that? - I laughed my head off. "A truck full of mimes just pulled up and they're not talking!"

"There are only two things that clowns make, balloon animals and enemies."

Ha! That cracked me up, I have been saying these ever since. I haven't seen many episodes but I love the cadence of the show - it reminds me of Roald Dahl books.

Back to the risotto. I am happy to be able to cross risotto off my list of culinary accomplishments. This was a very rich and satisfying dish - much like a mac and cheese without so much dairy.
It was amazing how much the arborio rice seemed like pasta.

I give it two thumbs up, Ina is wonderful.
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.