This Butternut Squash Risotto is absolutely delicious, and I don’t think my perception of the taste was influenced by the fabulous evening I had while making it. I invited a friend over for dinner with her kids, while our husbands were out of town hunting. It was one of those great nights filled with laughter and meaningful conversation. Her son was intrigued and probably a little exacerbated, when commenting that we sat at the table and talked for 6 hours!!
BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO
1 quart of chicken stock
a generous pinch of saffron (20 to 24 threads)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta, finely diced
1 pound butternut squash, shredded
1 rib of celery, finely diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, shredded
salt and pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan
sliced sage for garnish
In a pot, bring the stock, 2 cups of water and the saffron to a low boil. Lower the heat and keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the pancetta for a minute or two. Add the butternut squash, celery, onion and garlic. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Partially cover and cook until the butternut squash is just softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the rice for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook to evaporate. Add the warm stock, stirring in a few ladlefuls at a time and allowing the liquid to evaporate before adding more. Cook for 18 minutes from the first addition of stock.
Stir in the butter and cheese in the last minute of cooking. Serve the risotto in shallow bowls. Top with the sage.
Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray, October 2012