Bacon and Butternut Risotto
Slowly simmered in a wine broth, this richly flavored risotto combines the flavors of bacon and squash.
- 1 medium-large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling, plus 2 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Honey, for drizzling
- 4 cups chicken stock (32 ounces)
- A generous pinch of saffron threads
- 1/4 pound slab bacon or pancetta, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups carnaroli or Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2-3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a couple of handfuls)
Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF.
Place the squash on baking sheet and dress with EVOO, salt, pepper, nutmeg and a drizzle of honey. Toss to combine, then arrange in a single layer and roast to tender, 20 minutes. Remove half of the squash to a food processor and puree with a little water or stock.
Heat the stock with saffron and 2 cups water in a saucepot. Keep warm over medium-low heat.
In a medium size pot with rounded edges at the bottom, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the bacon or pancetta and render to lightly crisp, 2-3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and stir to soften, 2-3 minutes more. Add the rice and season with salt and pepper; toast for 2 minutes, then stir in the wine and let evaporate. Add a few ladles of stock at a time stirring rapidly with each addition to build starchy, creamy quality. The rice will take 18 minutes from the first addition of liquid to cook to al dente.
Stir in the squash puree and melt in the butter. Add the grated cheese and taste the risotto for seasoning.
Serve in shallow bowls garnished with the reserved diced, roasted squash.