Friday, January 28, 2011


Butternut Squash, Thyme and Bacon Risotto
{to serve 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side}

1 small butternut squash
3 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
8-10 Tbs butter
4-5 cups chicken stock
2 Tbs dry thyme
3 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Ahead of time:
-cook bacon (reserving 2 Tbs of the grease for later), cool and roughly chop

-cut squash in half, remove seeds and roast at 350 degrees, cut-side down in a pan with 1 inch of water for 30 minutes (or until soft).  When cool enough to handle, cut into cubes.

-bring stock to a simmer in a small pan over medium-low heat, then reduce to low and cover with lid until needed.

To make the risotto:
 -Melt 4 tablespoons butter with reserved bacon grease in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. 
-Add shallots and sauté until tender and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and thyme, and cook for another minute. 
-Add rice; stir and cook for a few minutes, until rice becomes translucent.  

-Add bacon, 4 Tbs butter and 1&1/2 cups hot broth; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. 

-Add remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is creamy and tender, about 20-30 minutes.
-When rice is no longer hard in the center (take a bite!), add the squash.
 -Stir in cheese. Season risotto with salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.

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