Warm Bowl of Risotto

I apoligize for the absence of posts, I was out of town, and from the momment I have returned home I’ve had so much to do in preparation for classes. With time on my hands today, I decided to take advantage and post one of my favorite fall dishes…risotto.

Not just any risotto, creamy rich butternut squash and bacon risotto.
Different rice varieties are used to make risotto, the best type of rice to use is a superfine Italian rice called Carnaroli. There are many Italian rice varieties so be sure to read the box carefully, I do not recommend using Arborio rice – it will get too soft.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon -> 2-3 servings

2 lbs butternut squash, peel, remove ends
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 ounces bacon, chopped
1 large shallot, minced
5 ounces Carnaroli rice (about 3/4 cups)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Prepare sheet pan with parchment or silpat.

Cut the squash in half, lengthwise. Remove seeds, and cut squash into 3/4 inch cubes. You’ll have about 3 to 4 cups. Toss with olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper. Spread squash on prepared sheet pan, and roast for 25 minutes or until tender. Toss halfway through baking time. When tender remove from oven and set aside.

Heat chicken stock in a sauce pan, leave on low heat to simmer.

Over medium-low heat, melt butter in a large saute pan (12 inch) and saute butter and shallots for about 10 minutes, or until shallots are softened and bacon is cooked (not crisp). Add rice, and stir to coat in butter, add the wine and cook for about 2 minutes. Add 1 laddle full of stock to rice. Stirring often, until stock is absorbed. Continue to add the stock, 1 laddle at a time, stirring every other minute. Before adding stock each time, cook the rice until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock.

Continue until the rice is cooked through, but is still al dente about 30 minutes. Remove pan from heat, carefully add in roasted butternut squash and Parmigiano-Reggiano, season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well and divide among 2 or 3 dishes.
Serve with chilled white wine and enjoy slowly.

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