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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon & Sage

I've been meaning to share this wonderful recipe with you for awhile now and I've been so busy that I haven't had the chance to do that.  I was able to find a butternut squash in the markdown section of the local supermarket. I'm not sure why it was there.

I had some beautiful sage and my original thought was to take the sage, brown some butter, roast the squash and maybe mix it with pasta. I'm not a huge pasta fan; but, I am a huge risotto fan so I decided to see what I could find in the blogosphere for recipes using those ingredients.

Butternut squash is not the easiest veggie to work with or at least it's not for me.  It's hard to cut and hard to peel.  That's where the genius of other bloggers come in to play.  After a doing a search for recipes, I found the blog Stephen Cooks! here.  I am daily amazed by you guys and girls out there.   I learn so much from other bloggers.  Stephan shared a wonderful way to prepare the roasted squash....

"Prick the squash all over with a fork, rub it with olive oil and roast about 1 hour 15 minutes in a 400º oven until a fork penetrates easily to the center. Allow the squash to cool and cut in half. Remove seeds and pulp and scoop the meat out into a bowl. Set aside. (This can be done and refrigerated at least a day ahead if you like.)"

I tried it just as he suggested and it worked beautifully.  I don't think I will ever cut and peel a raw squash again.  The squash was nice and tender and easily peeled and chopped.  I wanted a little more caramelization on the squash for flavor so after I had the squash chopped into pieces.  I spread them on a baking sheet, drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled a little sea salt on them to try to get a little more flavor out of them.

I don't know how well that worked for my original intention.  They really didn't caramelize at all.  I could have sprinkled some brown sugar over the top and that might have worked but then they would have been too sweet, I think.  The end result was awesome so I don't know that it would have been that much better if the pieces had actually caramelized.  My cooking is always trial and error.  Sometimes it works....sometimes it doesn't....sometimes when my original ideas don't work, the end result is fabulous anyway so whatever, right? 

David fried up some bacon for me....

And he fried the sage leaves....

We didn't have any shallots like the recipe called for so we used a purple onion or red onion...whatever you like to call it.  When you peel the skin, the onion itself is purple.  We chopped the onion and sautéed it in olive oil.  Once the onion was soft, we added the rice and sautéed them together until the rice was a nice golden brown. 

The recipe called for mixing the wine and broth together and heating them up.  I happen to think nothing smells any better than when the wine first hits the pan so I wasn't willing to sacrifice that for the recipe.   Once the rice was nice and toasty, the wine was added and stirred into the onion and rice mixture until it was absorbed.  Oh that smell...... 


Ladle by ladle the hot broth was added until each were absorbed by the rice mixture.

Once the rice was was tender and creamy, we added half of the bacon and half of the sage leaves and some of the roasted squash.  We stirred in freshly grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, to taste, and garnished the top of each serving with bacon and fried sage leaves.

It was absolutely fabulous!

Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon and Sage
Adapted from a recipe from Fine Cooking here
1 qt. homemade or low-salt chicken broth; more as needed
1/2 cup dry white wine

2 Tbs. olive oil

10 large fresh sage leaves

4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thirds
2 medium shallots, minced (about 1/4 cup)

2 cups 1/4-inch-diced butternut squash

1-1/2 cups arborio or other risotto rice, such as carnaroli or vialone nano

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the chicken broth and wine in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. In a medium (3-qt.) saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and fry, turning once, until they’ve turned dark green in most places, about 1 minute total. Don’t brown. With a fork, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Put the bacon in the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to the plate with the sage.

Add the shallots to the saucepan and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the squash and rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Ladle in enough of the hot broth mixture to just cover the rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broth is mostly absorbed. Add another ladleful of broth and continue cooking, stirring, and adding more ladlefuls of broth as the previous additions are absorbed, until the rice is tender with just a slightly toothsome quality, about 25 minutes. As the risotto cooks, adjust the heat so that it bubbles gently. The broth mixture needn’t be boiling; it should just be hot. If you use all the broth and wine before the rice gets tender, use more broth but not more wine. Set aside the nicest looking sage leaves as a garnish (1 leaf per serving). Crumble half of the bacon and the remaining sage leaves into the risotto. Stir in the Parmigiano. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Crumble the remaining bacon over each serving and garnish with a sage leaf.

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  1. I have only had butternut squash in a soup! Your recipe looks delicious! I bet your kitchen smells heavenly while your preparing this dish!

  2. Looks good. I think you should provide free samples. LOL

  3. I love squash, this sounds soooo good!!!

  4. One quick comment... Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.


  5. What a great technique to roast the squash whole, I so want to try that. The risotto looks delicious and as I have not made one yet, it is time I did. thanks.

  6. This sounds wonderful! Thanks for stopping by Savoring Today, I'm glad I found your blog too :)

  7. Candace,
    What a great way to avoid cutting butternut squash. And we love risotto so maybe I will get a butternut squash at the market next week.

    Have a wonderful weekend.


  8. I cook by the same trial and error and really had to smile, you came up smelling like a rose! It looks absolutely amazing!

  9. I love risotto too. I haven't tried it with squash but I am sure that it would have a very sweet taste! It looks mouthwatering Candace!

  10. I absolutely love butternut squash and have several quarts of it frozen that I need to use up before we get our new crop next fall. This sounds like a great possibility!

  11. I always love visiting and seeing the delicious recipes you have! This looks wonderful! Have a great weekend my friend!

    Mama Hen

  12. I have always tried to cut my butternut squash in half raw before baking - and almost always nearly cut my fingers off - never thought to poke holes in at and bake it like that!

    I don't think I'd miss the carmelization when mixed with the risotto - love it!

  13. That looks delicious. I love Butternut, never made it this way. A must try!
    Thanks so much for visiting me! Have a great weekend!

  14. My mouth is watering... that looks fantastic.

  15. Butternut squash risotto is one of my favorite dishes. I've never mixed bacon into it...but I can only imagine it would make it that much better!

  16. Great squash tip!! I think sage and butternut squash are fabulous paired together...this dish looks super :)

  17. What a great recipe! I adore risotto. And with bacon added in, I'm practically drooling over my computer screen. Beautiful recipe!

  18. Oh, now that looks fabulous. You know you had me when you said bacon.
    Hope you have a great weekend and don't get to much snow!

  19. I'm a big fan of squash, but I've never really tried cooking it. At least now when I do I know where to start!

  20. Another great one Candy....wish I could have had a bite ! ! ♥U

  21. That looks really yummy! I really like the look of your blog too!

  22. I've made something similar before and I LOVE the flavor combination. I enjoy growning sage so I can just run outside and have fresh for cooking! I'm from Louisiana and moved across country the other direction from you to Washington state :-)

  23. oh this looks wonderful!! i can't wait to try it! thanks for sharing!

  24. Haha! I guess you did post it! LOL! I liked it then and I love it now! I really want to give this a try! Roasting the squash sounds like a great idea!


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