The touch of saffron in this flavorful risotto really compliments the butternut squash in this recipe. The addition of dry sherry and herbs are lovely background flavors, and the crispy pancetta provides a beautiful contrast of textures. An all star balanced dish.
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 1 cup diced pancetta
- 1 white onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped sage
- 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
- 5-6 cups chicken stock
- 1 ½ cups of arborio rice
- ½ cup of dry sherry or white wine
- 2 teaspoons saffron threads
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until cooked through and caramelized.
- Meanwhile, season and heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat.
- Add the saffron to the hot stock to infuse.
- In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and render out the pancetta until crispy. Remove and drain onto a paper towel. Reserve later.
- Add the shallots, sage, and rosemary to the pancetta fat and saute until the shallots are translucent but not browned.
- Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with fat. Toast on medium-low heat for a few minutes, ensuring to toast evenly.
- Deglaze with the sherry or wine and cook until evaporated.
- Add 1 full ladle of stock to the rice. Simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes, constantly stirring.
- Continue the process, one ladle at a time, until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente.Off the heat, fold in the roasted squash, butter, and Parmesan cheese.
- Season well with salt and pepper, top with the crispy pancetta, and serve immediately.