Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Pancetta, Arugula and Chèvre

A risotto made from scratch is completely worth the effort.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 2 hours 5 minutes
Total: 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8 main course servings.
Author: The Bojon Gourmet

Ingredients

Roasted butternut squash:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, about 2 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower or light olive oil

Quick chicken stock (makes about 6 cups):

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 or 2 roasted chicken legs
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • a few sprigs each parsley and thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • butternut squash strings and seeds from above

Risotto and garnishes:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus another tablespoon for the pancetta
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 chile de arbol, minced , (or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon chile flakes)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine , (I like something bright and citrusy, such as sauvignon blanc)
  • about 3 cups roasted squash flesh, from above
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4-6 cups chicken stock (from above)
  • 2 ounces grated parmesan, (1 cup)
  • 8 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled, half reserved for topping
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped sage leaves
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 8 ounces pancetta, in 3/4" dice
  • 1-2 cups arugula leaves, washed and dry

Instructions

Roast the squash:

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350º. Drizzle a rimmed baking sheet with the oil. Slice the squash lengthwise, leaving the seeds and strings for now, and place it cut-side-down on the baking sheet. Roast it in the oven for about 45 minutes, until golden, tender and collapsing. Let the squash cool until you can handle it. Scoop out the strings and seeds, reserving them for the stock, then scoop the flesh away from the skin, discarding the skin and reserving the flesh. You should have about 3 cups of squash flesh. Add any pan juices to the stock, as well.

Make the stock:

  • Combine all the stock ingredients in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, then strain. You should have about 6 cups of stock. Return the stock to the pan and have it barely simmering as you...

Make the risotto:

  • Melt the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil together in a wide soup pot or dutch oven set over a medium flame. Add the onion, thyme, and chile, and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. The rice will be translucent on the outside, with an opaque pearl in the center of each grain.
  • Add the wine and reserved squash, and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add about a cup of stock, enough to come up to the level of the rice, and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the stock is absorbed, keeping the rice at a bare simmer. Continue adding the stock, stirring, letting it be absorbed, until the grains of rice are swollen and tender to your liking. Risotto should be firm enough to put on a plate, but with saucy goo surrounding each grain.
  • When the risotto is about halfway done, begin frying the pancetta. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta in a single layer and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and caramelized around the edges. Set aside until ready to serve.
  • When the rice is tender to your liking, stir in the parmesan, half of the goat cheese, and all of the sage. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the risotto looks dry, loosen it with a bit more stock; if it is too wet, let stand for a few minutes to absorb more liquid.
  • Risotto is best served immediately, when the rice and saucy base are distinct, so spoon it onto warm plates or shallow bowls without delay. Top each plate with pancetta bits, crumbles of goat cheese, and a handful of arugula leaves.

Notes

For the most efficient risotto-making experience, roast your squash first, then make the stock, then cook the risotto. When the risotto is halfway done, fry up the pancetta. Have the components ready to go so you can serve the risotto as soon as it reaches the proper consistency.
If you prefer to start with ready-made stock, simmer it in a saucepan with the squash strings and seeds for 10 minutes, then strain the stock and return it to the pan to keep warm as you cook the risotto.
Chicken stock adds a more savory flavor, whereas vegetable stock will result in a sweeter risotto; though you can certainly use it to make a vegetarian version. (For a quick vegetable stock, use a large carrot, a small potato, and a celery stalk, all chopped into a few big pieces, in place of the chicken.) Sauteed shiitake or porcini mushroom chunks would make a fine substitute for the pancetta.
Nutritional values are based on one of six servings.

Nutrition

Calories: 673kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 929mg | Potassium: 645mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 162.9% | Vitamin C: 23.1% | Calcium: 23.3% | Iron: 29%
Making this? I'd love to see!Tag your snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet!