Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

by - 9:23 AM

I was lucky enough to get a beautiful butternut squash in my CSA delivery, so I decided to make something happen with it while I had some extra time on Sunday. (It's been amazing being home for a few days.)

That being said, this is probably not a weeknight dish, as risotto rarely is. However, the best part about this recipe is that it doesn't require the constant stirring traditional risotto does - it's all about timing. This was my first time making this, and it turned out even better than I could have imagined.

Butternut squash risotto recipe

I adapted the recipe from a series of great butternut squash recipes I found on Cooking Light.

I made a few modifications to the original recipe, including roasting the squash with thyme and using a 2-year aged white cheddar instead of pepperjack cheese. This also calls for pancetta, but you could omit it altogether and use vegetable broth to make it a vegetarian dish.

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Time: 40 min prep; 1 hour cooking | Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
Olive Oil Spray (I used Trader J's)
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/3 cups water
1/4 cup white wine (I used the Chardonnay I paired this with)
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
Fresh thyme sprigs
4 ounces chopped pancetta (omit for vegetarian)
1 cup finely chopped onion
olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice 2/3 cup
1/2-inch-cubed aged white cheddar cheese (or hard cheese of your choice)
Pine nuts
Salt & pepper


How to Prep Butternut Squash

I had never cooked with butternut squash before, and I assumed it was prepared similarly to spaghetti squash - not the case. It's actually really easy:

How to prep butternut squash
How to prepare butternut squash

First cut the top and bottom off the squash. Then use a peeler to peel off the outer layer (it's actually soft and velvety in texture). Then, scoop out the seeds and start cutting.

FGK Tip: Microwave the squash for 30-60 seconds before you start to make it easier to work with

Directions

1, Preheat oven to 475°.

2. Place squash on a nonstick pan with olive oil spray. Season with salt and pepper (I also added thyme here). Bake at 475° for 20-25 minutes or until tender, turning after 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.


3. Combine broth, water, wine, and tarragon in a saucepan; bring to a simmer. Keep warm over low heat.

4. Cook pancetta in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove pancetta from pan; drain on a paper towel. Discard pan drippings.

5. This is where the timing comes into play...just remember this is easier than traditional risotto. Add onion and oil to pan; sauté 10 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add rice to pan and toast, stirring constantly 1-2 minutes.


6. Stir in broth mixture; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, and simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes. (Do not stir; rice will have a liquid consistency similar to stew. Just don't touch it and trust it will do its thing.)

7. Place pan in oven; bake at 325° for 15 minutes.

8. Remove from oven. It should look fluffy like this, and most of the liquid should be absorbed.


Stir in the squash, pancetta, cheese, salt, and pepper.

Squash risotto recipe

Cover with a clean cloth; let stand 10 minutes (rice will continue to cook). Sprinkle with pine nuts. Garnish with tarragon sprigs, if desired.


I served this alongside a spinach and arugula salad with balsamic fig dressing, roasted pepitas and shaved Parmesan.



The wine paring that was recommended with this was a semi-oaky Chardonnay. I prefer unoaked Chard, and I thought this was delicious.

 2012 Joel Gott Unoaked Chardonnay
Original recipe suggestion: Perfect wine: Clos du Val Chardonnay 2001 (Carneros, CA), $21. This chardonnay has refined flavors reminiscent of custard, caramel, apple tarts, and honey. There's a hint of oak, but the wine is not superbuttery, oaky, or toasty. This wine is complemented by the savoriness of the rice and the sweetness of the squash.

Enjoy!
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