BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO WITH CRISPY PANCETTA
BY AMANDA AND JEAN-FRANÇOIS
“I feel almost guilty for coming in 2nd because absolutely each and every dish at this Throwdown blew my mind. Also, this recipe had been in my repertoire for a couple of years already and taught to me by my brother, a trained cook (now working at Barroco in Montreal. If you haven’t been, go for your next “special occasion” as I did last month – that meal made it to my “Top Meals of All Times” list) so it almost feels like cheating. Almost.” - Amanda
This is the kind of dish I like to make when I’m expecting company because it always gets rave reviews and is much easier to make than it looks. You just need to keep in mind these 5 essential rules to making a good (read: kickass) risotto:
- Use arborio rice
- Use hot broth
- Add small ladels of broth at a time
- Only add broth when the previous ladel has evaporated
- DON’T STOP STIRRING!!!
Here’s the (approximative) recipe which yields 4 portions and leftovers for lunch:
1 medium butternut or buttercup squash
6 cups of broth (I cheated and used store bought, but added vegetables to it: fennel tops, soft celery, carrots, onion)
350 g. arborio rice (non-negotiable, must be arborio)
2 small onions
1 small glass of white wine
0.5 cup heavy cream
2 cups of parmigiano reggiano
salt & pepper
- Heat your broth in a pot.
- Peel and cut your squash into small pieces and add them to a pot. Cover the squash with broth and let it boil about 20 or so minutes until the squash is tender.
- Add cream to the squash mixture and, using a hand blender or regular blender, puree until smooth.
- Heat a thick-bottomed pan and add some olive oil to it. Add your onion, salt & pepper and stir until soft and translucent.
- Add your rice to the pan and stir constantly. When the rice is warm (not browning!), add a small ladle of hot broth. Stir constantly. When the rice has absorbed all the broth, add another small ladle. Keep stirring! And repeat.
- When the rice is almost al dente, add your squash mixture to your rice and keep stirring.
- Add the parmigiano to the rice and keep stirring.
- Serve al dente or once the rice has reached the texture you prefer.
I hope you enjoy!