Thursday, October 9, 2008

Butternut Squash Risotto--Barefoot Bloggers

Time for another Barefoot Blogger's post and another great Ina Garten recipe--this one selected by the wonderful Rachel at Rachel Likes to Cook. Kicking off the fall season, Rachel chose Butternut Squash Risotto and I am beginning to believe that Butternut Squash is the new black! Its featured in this recipe, the one I chose for later in the month, several chefs have featured it in recipes on the Food Network, its in all the fall magazines and Giada's recently published cookbook, I found three recipes for it including one for a risotto with vanilla. Yep, Butternut Squash is definitely the new black this season!

I actually was looking forward to making this recipe quite a bit for two reasons; one I have never actually made risotto and the second reason is I have been long prejudiced against most squash and consider it among my least favorite foods and I have been working on willing myself to like it more. I was a little worried that I would have the patience and fortitude needed to focus on stirring and adding the broth to the Risotto (I am basically a somewhat lazy, impatient cook) but Ina rates the recipe as easy and the Weekend Lunch episode with this recipe aired a few days before I made it and it looked doable.

You can find the recipe either in Barefoot Contessa Family Style on page 86 or here at the Food Network.

Butternut Squash Risotto
Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa

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. 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. Mix well and serve.

Results: Incredible! Ina does it again! The combo of flavors; pancetta, squash, cheese, saffron and the creamy texture made this recipe a winner. The color is gorgeous too! I did find it cooked almost 20 minutes more than listed on the recipe but it was worth the wait and the texture of my risotto was pretty close to perfect I think. It made plenty for dinner for my Mom and I, as well as heated up well the next day for lunch. We served it with some fresh beans, cooked by Mom with some bacon and onion. (Yep, bacon and pancetta in one night--living dangerously!)

Great, great recipe pick Rachel! I only hope my pick of Vegetable Pot Pie to be posted on the 4th Thursday of this month is as good. (I am a little scared about making the pastry crust!) Check out the other Barefoot Bloggers' risottos here and if you love Ina and want to cook and post her recipes each month along with us, come learn more about the Barefoot Bloggers here.


  1. Yum! Glad you guys liked it. It really was satisfying wasn't it?
    I am so happy you are coming around to liking squash. I think that roasting it brings out the sweet flavour.
    Wonderful risotto!
    ps, you can never have too much bacon, can you?

  2. mmm pancetta & bacon, risotto too, sounds so good!

  3. It looks fantastic. Glad you loved it-me too. Hey-can wait for two weeks for today and the great pick from YOU!

  4. Yours has such a nice color to it. I think mine looks bland because I left out the saffron. Oh well, live and learn!

  5. Mine took longer, too. I thought it was well worth the effort though.

  6. I actually had a hard time stopping myself from eating the roasted squash before I stirred it in! Yours looks delicious!

  7. Looks good- it's amazing what great color the saffron adds!

  8. My first risotto, too! So delicious. And the green beans TOTALLY cancel out the bacon. ;)

  9. I'm so glad you loved this. It WAS incredible, wasn't it? I can't wait to make your pick next!

  10. Oh, that looks great! I'm so glad you're conquering your fears and learning to love squash. I can't wait to make your pot pie either!

  11. Looks delicious! I too am scared to make the pot pie crust, it should be an interesting experience.

  12. Wow! Great pictures. And I love the dishes. It was my first risotto, too, but I don't think it will be my last. I really don't know how long I cooked mine (I made some blondies while I was stirring). And please...bacon is good! Enjoy!

  13. Don't like squash? Try it filipino-style stewed with coconut milk :)

  14. What a great way to learn to like butternut squash. It sounds like you and your mum have been having a wonderful visit.

  15. I like your style - pancetta AND bacon! Your risotto looks nice and creamy.

  16. Yours looks lovely - you've got just the right dishes for risotto.

    Glad you enjoyed it, especially since you weren't too keen on squash before. Don't you ust love when you find a recipe that can change your mind about an ingredient for the better?

  17. Your risotto looks perfect! Mine too longer to cook too, but it tasted wonderful at the end. Great job!


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