All the best flavours of fall! This delicious dish combines sweet butternut squash, tangy blue cheese and crispy pancetta in a richly flavoured risotto.
It’s getting dark early now, and for me that means one thing: it’s the season to curl up with a big old bowl of comfort food. Soups, pasta and risotto are reigning supreme around here these days.
For fall risottos, this butternut squash risotto is where it’s at.
It’s got everything you could ask for in terms of fall comfort:
- warm, creamy goodness
- BUTTERNUT (for all you squash lovers!)
- crispy sage (my favourite and most comforting of fall herbs)
- blue cheese
Need I say more?? It’s like a fall dream in a bowl.
How to make butternut squash risotto
First, you want to get your squash roasted.
Quarter the butternut, season it with salt and pepper, and put it into an oven heated to 400℉ and roast for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.
If you have leftover squash begging to be used – bonus! You can skip this step!
Heat the stock in a large pot on the stove to a low boil then reduce the temperature to low to keep it warm – we are going to use this later.
Heat a large skillet to medium heat, then add the diced pancetta. Cook it while stirring occasionally until the fat has rendered out and it has begun to crisp. Remove the crisped pancetta with a slotted spoon and set it aside for later.
Add the diced celery and onion to the skillet along with a tablespoon of oil and saute for a couple of minutes before adding the rice. Toss the rice really well to ensure that every grain is covered with oil, then allow the rice to ‘toast’ in the skillet until the grains start to turn translucent.
Pour the wine into the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and give everything a good stir with a wooden spoon to deglaze the bottom of the pan.
Let the rice cook in the wine until it has almost evaporated, then add 2 cups of warm stock to the skillet.
Mash the roasted butternut in a bowl, then add the mashed butternut to the skillet and stir until it has combined with the stock and the rice.
Let the risotto simmer without stirring until the liquid has almost been absorbed by the rice, then continue to add stock one cup at a time until the rice is tender and the sauce is creamy.
Add the pancetta and blue cheese to the risotto and stir until it is well combined.
For the crispy sage leaf garnish, coat the bottom of a skillet with oil and heat to medium heat. add the leaves to the skillet and fry for a couple of seconds on each side before removing from the pan and cooling on a paper towel.
Dietary Considerations and Accommodations
- to make it vegetarian, drop the pancetta, and add a tablespoon of oil to the pan before cooking the celery and onion.
- to make it vegan, follow the vegetarian adaption and also remove the cheese.
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Butternut Squash Risotto with Blue Cheese and Pancetta
- 1⁄2 butternut squash (medium sized)
- 100 g pancetta
- 1.5 cups arborio rice
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 ribs celery finely diced
- 1⁄2 onion finely diced
- 2 ozs blue cheese crumbled
- 8 sage leaves
- 1 tbsp oil plus more for frying the sage
- fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Heat your oven to 400℉.
- Quarter your butternut squash lengthwise, then season with sea salt and pepper.
- Roast for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.
- Heat a large skillet to medium low heat and add the diced pancetta. Cook while stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes or until the fat has rendered out of the pancetta and it has begun to crisp.
- Remove the pancetta from the skillet with a slotted spoon and add about 1 tbsp of oil.
- Put the diced celery and onion in the skillet and season with salt and pepper.
- Saute the veggies for a couple of minutes (until they begin to soften) then add the rice.
- While the veggies are sauteing, bring the stock to a low boil in a large pot.
- Stir the rice to ensure that every grain is well covered with oil, then continue to heat the rice until it turns from white to translucent.
- When the rice is translucent, add the wine and cook until it is mostly absorbed by the rice.
- Add 2 cups of stock, and the mashed butternut squash to the skillet and stir to combine everything. With the heat on low, let the rice sit and cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed.
- Add the rest of the stock 1 cup at a time until the rice is tender.
- Stir in the cooked pancetta and blue cheese
- To make the crispy sage leave garnish, coat the bottom of a skillet with oil and heat to medium heat. Add the sage leaves and fry for a couple of seconds on each side before removing to a paper towel to cool and crisp.