Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What's cooking Wednesday: Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash

Sounds a bit froofroo on first take, but seriously, I had everything in my kitchen that I needed for this recipe. I always have a bit of saffron on hand because who knows when you might want to whip up a paella, right? It actually lives in my "seldom used but critical to have" spice box.

This recipe was a first for me. I got Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook out of the library this week and decided to try this recipe. Her recipes are dead easy and she doesn't use fancy stuff. I really like that.... fits my life very well. Anyway, it is very rich but absolutely delicious. If you don't like saffron, don't make this recipe.

I would actually cut down on the amount of butter she uses because it makes it soooo rich and it isn't necessary. I also added a monster clove of garlic because it just needed it. What doesn't?

Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash

1 butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp butter (she says to use 3/4 of a stick which to us Canadians doesn't mean much but I think one stick is half a cup.... anyway, it's too much. Use less - 3 tbsp would be about right)
2 ounces pancetta, diced (I can't do ounces either - again, it's a metric thing - I just put in a bunch because there is no such thing as too much pancetta)
2 diced onions
garlic - however much you like
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup white wine (she said 1/2 cup, but c'mon... the more the better in risotto)
1 tsp saffron threads
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F. Peel and seed the squash and cut into small cubes. Put on a cookie sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat chicken stock in saucepan and let simmer at low heat. By the by, she says to use homemade. Hah! Campbells tetra pack did me just fine.

In heavy-bottomed pretty big pot, melt butter and saute the pancetta and onion on med-low for 10 minutes or until onion is translucent but not brown. Add rice and garlic and stir to coat with butter and until the rice toasts a little bit (not brown). Add wine and cook 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock, saffron, 1 tsp salt and some pepper. Stir and simmer until stock is absorbed. Continue to add stock and stir every few minutes to develop the starch and also so it doesn't burn. I'm not one to stand and stir my risotto continually. I have better things to do and also, it's damn hot over that pot. Stirring every few minutes is fine... just don't say that to a die-hard Italian risotto maker. I'm sure they would not agree. Also, stir in any damn direction you please. Okay, on with it. Continue adding stock until the rice is cooked through but still al dente. Should take about 20-30 minutes depending on how hot your burner is (I did it just above medium and this is about right. Took about 20 minutes). Take it off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and the Parmesan cheese. Mix, serve, hear the oohs and aahs.

1 comment:

Shan said...

Looks very yummy.

Love the plates. My brother and his wife have the same ones:)