I still remember the day when Taverna, a cozy Italian restaurant nestled in the heart of Dallas, introduced me to a balsamic glazed chicken Risotto. It was the beginning of a now decade long love of everything Risotto. I still frequent Taverna quite often, but i've realized that making Risotto is just as much a part of the experience as eating it is. When you cook Risotto, you need to have patience, stir often and include just the right amount of liquid/rice proportion to create the best consistency. It's also kind of like pasta, in that you can be creative and add whatever you have in the pantry - I do this often.
One of my favorite recipes is this Butternut Squash Risotto by Ina Garten. The combination of roasted butternut squash and pancetta is perfectly accented with a touch of saffron. Seriously to die for!
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
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 cheese
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Watch how to make this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
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 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 cheese. Mix well and serve.
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Original recipe found HERE