Mrs. Regueiro's Plate: Butternut Squash Risotto

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Butternut Squash Risotto

I've been making risotto ever since I saw Gordon Ramsey yell out "Get out of my kitchen, ya donkey!" This hilarious catchphrase is stuck in my head because the knuckleheads aka wanna-be chefs would always have to cook this dish for dinner. I'm not afraid to make risotto, but maybe I'm afraid to cook for Gordon Ramsey. I've been itching to make a new risotto, and I came across Ina Garten's. I'll admit that I'm slowly becoming a mad fan for her because all of the recipes that I've previously made, are ALL pretty darn good. I've never eaten butternut squash or cooked with it, too. So I liked the adventure of a new ingredient.

However, my biggest problem with this dish was finding butternut squash. I've seen it at TJ's in a bag, all cut and ready to cook. But I didn't want to cheat the recipe either. I searched high and low at my farmers market for this darn butternut squash, and the only thing I knew about it was it was orange. I looked at the squash area, and it was nowhere to be found. I scanned the area one more time, and I found it...and laughed. It had a little sticker of "butternut squash" placed on the bottom of it. My husband & I giggled like school kids because the squash looked so phallic! OMG, it was hilarious. Whatever, this crazy vegetable with the identity of a men's private part. haha. Moving on with my dish, the hardest part truly was cutting the butternut squash. I googled on how to do it, and found this perfect demo.

Butternut Squash Risotto
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups of vegetable stock
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
8 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

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. 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.
3. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan. Mix well and serve.

Review: I followed the recipe with a couple adjustments, added extra pancetta & used homemade vegetable stock. I couldn't stop eating the roasted butternut squash by itself either. I was pleasantly surprised by the sweetness of the squash, too. Absolutely wonderful risotto and one I'll be making again. YUM, thanks again Ina!
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