Thursday, October 9, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Butternut Squash Risotto

Today the Barefoot Bloggers are posting Ina Gartens Butternut Squash Risotto. I was so excited to see that Rachel of Rachel Likes to Cook chose this recipe. It looked so freaking good and came at the perfect time of year.

Skill level: Easy. Yes, this is an easy, just very time consuming. I would like to try to make this again around Thanksgiving and see if I could pick up speed and complete the dish faster.

Prep time: 10 minutes. More like 30.
Cook time: 40 minutes. From start to finish, this dish took me two hours.
Here are the ingredients you need:
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

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes.

This was freaking hard to do. How in the world do you peel a butternut squash? I googled this question and found my answer. I wish I had looked this up prior to starting this dish, I was so frustrated after 15 minutes of trying all kinds of made up techniques.

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. This is a trick I learned from the new Coors Light beer cans, I punched a hole on both sides so air comes in one, and the chicken stock flows without "guggling."

"Dice" pancetta. Yeah, that wasn't a pretty dicing here. It kind of shredded as I went a long. But small pieces is what we are going for here.

Butternut squash has come out of the oven 30 minutes later and smells divine. It tasted great too. I munched on this while I finished the risotto.
Dice your shallots.
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.
Jim is studying in another room, but comes down to see what smells so good. Oh, this smelled great.
Measure out 1 1/2 cups arborio rice.

1/2 cup of white wine. I would have prefered to use a Sav Blanc, but only had this Chardonnay in my wine credenza.
Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine
and cook for 2 minutes.
Saffron threads. I've never cooked with this before. I had heard this was an expensive herb...did you know it is THE most expensive herb? I paid $8.00 for what you see on that plate. That is maybe three teaspoons worth.
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.

Here are pictures of my risotto as it comes together. This took me longer than 30 minutes to complete.

I grated my parmesan cheese by hand.

Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan. Mix well and serve.

This made a lot of risotto, good thing though it was REALLY GOOD!


  1. Looks good. Great work on all the photos. I get sick of the photos sometimes!

  2. Looks great! Mine tok a little longer to cook but was well worth it!

  3. Your pancetta in the picture looks so does your risotto.

  4. Your risotto looks perfect! I am late again with my post, but all your beautiful pics make me eager to get started.

  5. Wow, thanks for the compliments. This was a labor of love for sure. If I didn't love risotto so much, I would have given up at peeling the dang squash. Wish I could have you all over for a bowl of this stuff, the recipe made enough for an army! Jim and I will be eating this for a while...

    Joe, the pictures were a pain at first, but I have a system down now. It takes me about an hour to get a post up from start to finish - sometimes shorter if there are few pictures.

    Thanks Candy and Veronica!

    Chocolatechic, thanks! I love your blog and the tag line "A day in the life of a pink wearin’, chocolate eatin’, homeschool mom."

  6. Looks so delish Mandy! Great job! I love how you showed how to cut the squash...I wish I had that picture a few weeks ago! :)

  7. That looks unbelievably gorgeous-especially with the fresh sage poked in the top.

  8. This looks so good! I saw it over on Aggie's Kitchen, but she didn't post pictures. I love butternut squash and I've never made risotto before. Was it hard to do? Your pictures make it look like a cinch.

  9. Prudy! Thanks. I'm so proud because that sage you see came from my own backyard!

    Maris, this was not a difficult recipe at all but it does take a while to make and some of the ingredients are on the pricy end. BUT, having said all that it is worth it. The combination of salty and sweet is really good.

  10. Oh, it looks great!


Your comments mean a lot to me, I love hearing from you!