This is my second Butternut Squash Risotto recipe...this one coming from the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten. There are a few subtle differences between the two recipes; mainly the roasted squash and the addition of bacon in this version. The husband is waiting for me to finish my post so we can go sit in our spa, so I am going to make my commentary short and sweet. (The boy is in bed, but don't worry, we will still be able to hear him. Hooray for baby monitors with good reception!)
I only made a couple substitutions...bacon in place of pancetta, and I had homemade veal stock instead of chicken stock. I used all my chicken stock up, but thankfully, I found some veal stock in the freezer...problem solved! Also, I added one clove of garlic. I just can't eat dinner without garlic being somewhere in the dish.
Ina's Butternut Squash Risotto
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 (or substitute bacon)
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1 minced garlic clove (optional)
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, garlic 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.
This was, by far, the better risotto. The roasted squash made a huge flavor difference, in a positive way. The husband actually did not complain about squash for dinner again, and even had a second helping! It was that good! I used maple bacon, so it gave the whole dish a hint of sweetness without being overpowering. I think the veal stock may have made it a little richer, but it would have been just as good with homemade chicken stock. Overall, this is the one to make if you had to choose between this recipe and Giada's version. Awesome!