Oh my goodness, how I love risotto. It is such a versatile Italian classic because it can become a canvas for countless flavors! This incredible roasted butternut squash risotto was completely inspired by the flavors of fall. The first step was to get my butternut squash roasting.
While the butternut squash roasted, I started the risotto portion of the roasted butternut squash risotto. The flavor base was salty, glorious pancetta. Adding pancetta makes any dish better!
There was loads of rendered out pancetta fat left in my pan. When it came to flavor, that stuff was liquid gold! I didn’t want the roasted butternut squash risotto to be greasy though, so I poured most of it into a container to cook with later. I left a coating of it in my pan and got it back on the heat to toast my arborio rice in it. Then I deglazed the pan with white wine. After that, it was all about patience. Making the risotto was actually really zen like and soothing to me! I kept gently stirring the rice while I gradually added warm chicken stock to the pan. The whole process took about 20 or so minutes to get the rice perfectly tender and creamy.
I scooped it into pretty bowls and garnished the bowls with a little extra chopped sage on top. It wilted right into the mixture and became so fragrant! Let me tell you, this roasted butternut squash risotto was a bowl full of heaven. The creamy rice was such an incredible base for the tender squash, salty pancetta, and smokey gouda! It was such a perfect main course for fall. Marc went absolutely nuts for it. Enjoy, friends! xoxo
Roasted butternut squash risotto is such an incredible meal or side! The pancetta and smoked gouda give it an amazing depth of flavor.
- 1 whole butternut squash peeled and diced
- 4 whole fresh sage leaves coarsely chopped, plus additional for garnish
- 1 big pinch kosher salt
- olive oil as needed
- 1/2 pound pancetta diced small
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/4 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup freshly grated smoked gouda
- First, start roasting the butternut squash. Preheat the oven to 375 and get all of the butternut squash into a large 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle the chopped sage and salt all over it. Then liberally drizzle the olive oil all over the mixture and toss it all together well. Roast the butternut squash in the oven for about 30 minutes. It should become fork tender and fragrant.
- While the butternut squash roasts, prepare the risotto. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Get the diced pancetta into the hot pan and let it completely cook and crisp up. It will take about 8 minutes. When it's done, remove it with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towel. While the pancetta cooks, pour the chicken stock into a saucepan and get it on the stove either right next to or right behind the skillet. Let it warm up gently over medium low heat.
- Drain most of the rendered out pancetta fat out of the pan. Leave just enough to coat the skillet. You can pour the excess into a container and save it to cook with later. It's liquid gold! Add the rice to the skillet and let it lightly toast up in the pancetta fat for less than a minute. Pour in the white wine and let the rice almost completely absorb it.
- This is where patience comes in. Ladle a couple of scoops of the warm chicken stock into the skillet and stir constantly while the rice absorbs it. When it's absorbed, repeat with another couple of scoops of the warm stock. Keep up the process until the stock is all completely absorbed into the rice and the rice is perfectly tender. The whole process will take about 20 minutes. Take the pan off of the heat.
- The butternut squash should be done at this point. Take it out and measure out two heaping cups of it. There may be some leftover depending on the size of the squash. That can be a great snack for later! Stir the butternut squash, pancetta and smoked gouda into the rice and the risotto is done! Scoop it into bowls and serve with extra chopped sage on top. Enjoy!