Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Holy Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash

1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons 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.


  1. I'm not going to lie. I don't think I've ever even tasted, let alone cooked with, pancetta or saffron. And I'm not sure I've ever tried risotto. This whole post is just building a little more on my inferiority complex.

  2. Kasey this looks incredible!!! I love risotto and I am totally making this with my mom this next week (ie making her make it).
    I have never cooked with pancetta or saffron threads either but I have tried buying saffron before and it can be pricey. I know you can find it surprisingly at home goods for cheaper and I bet you can get it online for a better deal than the grocery store.

  3. I always just use bacon in place of pancetta.

  4. Hi Susanne,
    This is Amy @
    I hope this is a good way to contact you. I got your message asking if I could make some missionary cupcakes for you. Thanks for your interest but I don't do a lot of orders right now. I have had to cut back because I just had my 3rd baby. Also I'm scared to ship anything so unless you live in the Birmingham AL area I wouldn't be able to get them to you. If you do live here let me know when you needed them and I will see what I can do. Thanks again, Amy