Sometime life calls for a simple recipe – or at least one based on what’s in the fridge. So, with the bacon, chicken stock and cubed butternut squash in the fridge, I was inspired to make this risotto. With arborio rice always on the shelf and Parmigiano-Reggiano always on hand, this makes the perfect post-Christmas meal!
Ingredients and Directions:
- 2 cups butternut squash – peel and dice (1-inch cubes)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 4 slices of American-style bacon – preferably with a smokey taste like Applewood smoked bacon
- 1 medium onion – diced
- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup white wine
- 6 cups good-quality chicken stock (preferably homemade)
- 2 ounces butter
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (some reserved for sprinkling over the finished risotto)
- Potato masher
- Roasting pan covered with aluminum foil
- Heavy-bottom pot for cooking the risotto
- Heat oven to 375 degrees and place the chicken stock in a pot and heat to a simmering boil.
- In a bowl, toss the butternut squash with a little extra virgin oil, salt and pepper. Spread out on the roasting pan prepared with aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes, or until the butternut squash will smash with a fork.
- Return the squash to the bowl and mash well with the potato masher.
- Heat the risotto pot over medium-heat. Add the bacon, laying it flat on the bottom of the pot. Cook the bacon until crispy, turning once. Remove to plate with paper towels to drain. When cool, cut into short pieces.
- Drain most of the bacon fat off, leaving a little in the pan for flavor. Add a little extra virgin olive oil and the chopped onion. Saute until soft and translucent – about 5 minutes.
- Add the Arbrorio rice and stir occasionally to toast – about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and stir until it’s mostly evaporated.
- Begin to the add the hot chicken stock, one ladle at a time. After adding one ladle of the stock, stir until the stock is mostly absorbed. Continue adding stock, one ladle at a time, until the rice is creamy but still a little al dente – about 30 minutes. You may have stock leftover.
- When the rice is ready, add the mashed butternut squash, butter, cut bacon and Parmigianno-Reggiano cheese (reserving some for the finished dish). Stir to combine well and to melt the butter and cheese.
- Serve in bowls and top with the remaining Parmigianno-Reggiano cheese.