Tonight I indulged in one of my favorite fall meals. Butternut squash risotto. The richness and creaminess of it is pure luxury. The starchiness of the rice, the nuttiness of parmesan, the sweetness of the butternut squash and the saltiness of the bacon can warm the coldest of fall evenings. I’ve spent the last several years perfecting my recipe and I think I am pretty close and felt the need to share with you what I’ve learned while I sit and enjoy the fruits of my labor and watch my not-so-secret pleasure, Dancing with the Stars. (Though, it may also be in part due to the glass (and a half) of wine I’ve consumed while cooking.)
Butternut Squash Risotto
1 small-medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
6-8 slices of bacon, chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 1/2 cups aborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
5 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
3-4 tablespoons butter
Roast the butternut squash, drizzled in olive oil, salt and pepper, in a 450 degree oven for ~30 minutes.
Simmer chicken broth to keep warm. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large stockpot until crispy. Remove bacon and add onion, cooking over medium heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Add aborio rice and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup wine and cook until the liquid evaporates (DO NOT OMIT, however, white wine is not necessary. All I had was a Rose in the fridge and that worked just as well). Add chicken broth, 1 cup at a time until, stirring until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes total (or ~5 minutes/cup chicken stock).
Remove from heat. Add butter and parmesan and stir until melted. (If you have been drinking the wine that you just opened, be careful while grating the cheese, we don’t want any kitchen injuries).
Fold in roasted butternut squash and top with bacon pieces. I would recommend keeping the bacon separate from the risotto, but then again, I prefer crispy bacon. Enjoy!
Now to turn my attention back to Dancing with the Stars … and perhaps another glass of wine.