Butternut Squash Risotto
2 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter divided
¼ lb pancetta or guanciale, diced
1 large shallot minced, about ¼ cup
½ large butternut squash peeled and grated, see note below
2 cups arborio rice
2 cloves garlic minced
¾ cup dry white wine
6-8 cups chicken stock low-sodium
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano freshly grated
1 Tbsp fresh sage finely chopped
1 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp Kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
¼ tsp ground cinnamon optional
Recipe and image provided by @WellSeasonedStudio
Place chicken or vegetable stock in a large sauce pan, then bring to a simmer until needed.
Heat ½ Tbsp butter over medium-high heat in a large pan or pot. When hot, add pancetta then cook, stirring often, until browned and crispy on all sides, about 3-4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pancetta to a paper towel lined plate or bowl.
To the same pan, add minced shallot. Cook until translucent, about 2 minutes, then add grated butternut squash, rice, and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
Pour in wine, then allow to cook for 1-2 minutes until most of it has evaporated. Begin adding stock 1-2 ladlefuls at a time, stirring constantly. After a couple minutes, most of the stock should have been absorbed by the rice. Repeat, adding more stock and stirring continuously, until the rice is creamy, yet tender, about 20 minutes total. Variation in cook time may be due to the size of your pan or the temperature. You want the rice to be al dente with just the slightest bite. The risotto should move freely around the pan and be more soupy than dry.
Add remaining butter, ground cinnamon (if using), Parmigiano Reggiano, sage, lemon zest, and cooked pancetta to the risotto, then stir to combine. Taste, then add kosher salt as needed to season. Immediately divide between bowls, then serve with cracked pepper and extra Parmigiano Reggiano on top.
Pre-cut butternut squash: You can save time by purchasing already peeled and cubed butternut squash, then grating finely in a food processor with the grating attachment (choose the smallest size available).
Don’t have a food processor? No problem! You can either grate the squash by hand (this will take much longer) or simply cut into ¼” dice and roast in a 425 F oven with olive oil, salt, and pepper until tender, about 20-25 minutes.
Risotto will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container in a refrigerator.
Butternut squash: if you don’t want or don’t have access to butternut squash, try substituting with any fall or winter squash, such as pumpkin, delicata squash, or acorn squash.
Want to serve a vegetarian risotto? Omit the pancetta and add sautéed shiitake mushrooms instead!