Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The perfect end for a snow day

Today we had over a foot of snow dumped on Lowell MA yesterday. My husband John, sister-in-law Michelle, and myself had ourselves a legit snow day! Bumming around in our PJ's, 'working from home', shoveling and making a few snow angels too. Even George the cat went out onto the porch to explore the snow (wish I had pictures of THAT, he didn't last too long out there in the cold). :)

Because I knew I would probably have lots of time to cook last night, I decided to make Ina Garten's "Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash". Just minus the Saffron because I didn't have any, and substitute bacon for the pancetta because I was too lazy to drive to the store in the snow.

The three of us decided that the risotto was heavenly and one of the best Butternut squash risotto's we've had in a while! We served it with a salad and rolls.

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 (or bacon!)
* 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 (you can omit this and it's still good!)
* 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. *I mashed the squash a little before adding it to make it more creamy.


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