Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Most Difficult Cooking Task Yet!

It's Fall - and you all know - I love Fall.

I love pumpkin and squash, and I will try to use it as much as I can this time of year because it just tastes that much better - they are in their prime.

So I went to my go to gal - Ina Garten - to make a dish I saw about a year ago on her show "Barefoot Contessa."  The dish I am talking about is her saffron risotto with butternut squash.  My husband makes risotto all the time.  It is one of my favorite dishes.  It is so delicate but so difficult to make perfectly.  There is a lot of time and care that goes into making risotto.  Zachary was a good coach - but I can say I did this by myself, and I am so proud of it!  Plus, Zachary even agreed that this was better than the risotto he makes!  This dish is amazing and just the perfect side dish for a Sunday fall dinner.  We cut the recipe down to be just for us, but I was able to have some for leftovers for lunch as well!  I highly highly recommend making this!

Click HERE for the recipe - it is also listed below:
1 Butternut Squash (2 pounds)
2 TBSP olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.

In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve.

This was a picture of the risotto when I just added the squash. 
Happy Risotto Cooking!
xoxo Sarah

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