This is such a filling and comforting meal on a cold winter day. This was the first thing I made after my jaw surgery when my diet got bumped along to "soft pasta." Maybe it was because I was on a liquid diet for 2 weeks prior, but I thought this was simply the BEST thing I had ever put in my mouth! Creamy and rich, this dish is a must.
Roasted Butternut and Saffron Risotto
Roasted Butternut Squash
5 C roasted butternut squash (1 large squash)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Peel the squash, remove the seeds and cut in small cubes. Cover a sheet pan with foil and place squash on the pan. Drizzle oil on top, add salt and pepper and mix together making sure squash is covered in oil. Roast on 400° for about 25-30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Remove from heat and grate nutmeg over the top. Set aside to cool.
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 oz pancetta, diced
2 C Arborio rice
1/2 C dry white wine
6 C chicken stock
1 envelop of saffron powder*
1 C freshly grated Parmesan
On a back burner or in the microwave, heat chicken stock. Have it stay at a simmer so if will be ready when you need it.
In a heavy bottom pot, heat olive oil then add shallots, pancetta and garlic. Cook for a few minutes on medium-low heat until the shallots are translucent. Add rice and stir to coat with oil. Add wine and cook for a few minutes. Add two cup of chicken stock and saffron to the rice. Keep stirring until the liquid is absorbed, about 5-10 minutes. Continue to add the stock a little at a time and stir until the rice seems a little dry. Do this until the risotto is cooked through but still al dente; about 30 minutes total. Add salt and pepper if desired.
Meanwhile, puree about 1/2 of the squash (optional).
Add all the squash to the risotto and stir to combine. Mix in the Parmesan and serve.
* I got my saffron envelops at Whole Foods. There were 3 envelops to a pack and it cost about $7.00. They also had saffron threads for much more. The saffron gave the risotto a beautiful yellow color (the squash didn't hurt either).
Risotto is one thing that I was scared to make for a long time and I'm not really sure why. I cannot believe it took me so long to make it! It is really quite simple and not hard at all! It's one of those things that is quite forgiving. Just make sure you have enough stock on hand and keep stirring and you can't go wrong. Try it out and let me know what you think!