You guys, this is a must-make for those of you that like risotto. I looked through some different recipes for butternut squash risotto, and gathered ideas for ingredients. I put them all together, and this is what I got:
It has a savory flavor, not sweet like a lot of butternut squash recipes do. This is due to the sage, saffron, and hint of center cut bacon I used. This recipe makes a ton of food! I made it last Friday, and will still probably get a few more meals out of it. I served it with a Moroccan “Breaded” Baked Chicken Breast, which will be a separate post. You could serve just the risotto as the main course, or serve it alongside a protein like chicken or fish. If you want to make this for yourself, here's what you'll need:
1.5 cups uncooked (gf) arborio rice
6 cups (gf) chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 of an acorn squash
1 small butternut squash
1/2-1 tbsp light butter
1 chopped shallot
2 pieces center cut bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbsp fresh chopped sage
1 tea saffron threads
Salt and pepper
1/2 – 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
First, cut both the acorn and butternut squash in half, scrape out the seeds, and place on a cookie sheet with the cut-side up. Spray lightly with EVOO or a cooking spray, and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let them cool down. Scrape out the insides with a spoon, and place in a bowl to the side for later.
While the squash is in the oven, you can go ahead and start the risotto. Add broth to a large pot, heat to a slow boil, then reduce to medium heat to keep warm. In a large skillet, drizzle a teaspoon or two of EVOO, and put on medium to high heat. Add butter and let melt. Sauté shallot and bacon until shallot is translucent and bacon is crispy.
Add arborio rice and cook for a few minutes on its own to warm it up. Add a couple of ladles of broth to rice, stir, and let rice soak up broth. Keep adding broth one or two ladles at a time as it soaks up and the rice continues to cook. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. The volume of rice will appear to at least triple as you do this.
You'll probably end up adding about 2 cups of squash. You can really add as much as you want just based on personal preference. After all the squash is in there, add the saffron.
Saffron is not a cheap spice, but trust me that the flavor it adds makes it totally worth the splurge!
The mixture will continue to look like this as you add broth. Once it fluffs up and the rice becomes tender, you know it's done.
Be patient, keep adding broth, and I promise it will get fluffy! Stir more frequently as it cooks, because it tends to start burning if you don't.
Once it is done, add the freshly grated Parmesan cheese and stir until incorporated. Now it's ready to serve!
Look how stinkin' yummy that looks! It really was awesome, and I know you guys will love it!
I've said this before, and I'll say it again: Risotto is a clean slate to which you can add absolutely anything to make it your own. Cooking it is a method that does take some patience, but all in all is really simple. The last epic risotto I made was this one, but the one above definitely gave it a run for its money!
In other news, I went downstairs this morning, and look where Frank decided to hang out:
I think he's trying to tell me that I'm out of cookies and muffins, and I need to have another bake fest. Ok Frank, point taken. Maybe later this afternoon I'll make some goodies. Tomorrow, he'll probably be hanging out in the cookie jar eating them….rude.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far! It's almost Friday, woo hoo!