Today is my first posting from the Barefoot Bloggers, which is a website/blog celebrating the cooking wonders of Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa. We receive 2 recipes for the month, and we are to post our cooking adventures on the 2nd and 4th thursday of the month. The first recipe was a Saffron Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash chosen by Rachel of Rachel Likes to Cook,. This seems like the perfect recipe for this cool and rainy weather we have been having here in Wisconsin. I was very excited for my first barefoot blogger recipe!! When I was telling people at work what I was making many seemed leery of the butternut squash. Now I truthfully never had butternut squash before, so I was starting to worry myself...was it really that bad? Well, I am glad I went for it as is. I followed the recipe pretty close to exact (I am known for not measuring, so I made a better effort to do so this time!!!)
The ingredients are as follows:
--- 1 butternut squash (approx 2 lbs)
--- 2 TBSP Olive Oil
--- Kosher salt
--- Freshly ground black pepper
--- 6 cups chicken stock
--- 6 TBSP unsalted butter
--- 2 oz. pancetta
--- 1/2 cup minced shallots
--- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
--- 1/2 cup dry white wine
--- 1 tsp saffron threads
--- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
I peeled the butternut squash (took much longer than anticipated), removed the seeds and cut it into 3/4 inch cubes. I placed in a large bowl and added 2 TBSP Olive oil, salt and pepper, coated well.
I placed the squash on a baking sheet and baked at 400 degrees (I think...I have a crazy oven with a mind of its own) for 30 min, turning once. Now, remember I said I was leery of the butternut squash, since everyone I talked to said they didn't like it. To make sure it was ok to serve to all :), I had to test a piece. It was fantastic!! Note: next time I will get a bigger butternut squash so I can eat some of the extras.
While the squash was roasting, I heated the store-bought (sorry no homemade for me!!) chicken stock in a covered pan, on low. In my Versatility crock pot pan, I melted 6 TBSP butter, and sauteed the diced pancetta (approx 2 oz) and minced shallots (2 large shallots) for 10 minutes. The rice was added and stirred to coat the rice with the butter/pancetta/shallot mixture.
I added 1/2 cup wine (and a glass for myself) and cooked for 3 minutes. Then added 2 ladles of chicken stock to the rice, with the addition of the $$$$saffron$$$$$, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. The mixture was stirred and simmered for 10 minutes until the stock was absorbed.
This process was supposed to continue for 30 minutes, adding 2 ladles of stock at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time cooking until the mixture was a little dry. I never found the mixture to be dry, or even a little dry. So it took much longer than 30 minutes. But eventually, I got the risotto tasting like I thought it should. I then took the risotto off the heat, added the roasted squash and Parmesan cheese.
I cooked the risotto at 9 at night, after dinner. This was pretty much the only time this week I had to cook this! But I am so glad I did, I had myself a small bowl, and it was delicious!
Maddy and I will definitely have it for dinner tonight, maybe Winston too! Thanks Barefoot Bloggers, can't wait for the next one!!