This recipe has been a staple in our house for years, but I’m finally getting around to writing it down. It’s been tweaked and perfected, and this recipe won’t disappoint.
1 Tbsp minced fresh sage
5 oz pancetta, small dice
2.5 lb squash, diced and roasted
2 lg shallots diced small – about ½ cup
1.5 c arborio rice
½ c sauvignon blanc
6 c chicken stock
1 c parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 425. Cube squash into ¾-inch cubes, and toss to coat in EVOO. Spread on the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and golden – about 35-40 minutes.
Add the stock to a separate small pot, and cover. Bring to a simmer, and reduce heat to low to keep at a bare simmer.
Meanwhile, add pancetta to cold, heavy-bottomed pot that you’ll use for the risotto. Put over medium-low heat to render and brown. Reduce heat to low as it begins to brown, cooking until its deep golden all over; this will take 15-ish minutes. Remove the pancetta to a plate with a slotted spoon and reserve. Leave all of the fat; about 2 Tbsp in the pan.
Return the heat to medium/med-low, and add 4 Tbsp butter (½ stick), shallot, and sage. Sauté until the shallots are translucent. Listen for them to sizzle but not brown, so adjust your heat accordingly.
Add the rice and sauté for 2-3 minutes until coated with oil. Then add the wine, and stir until absorbed.
Reduce the heat to low, and begin adding stock 2 ladles at a time and stirring until mostly absorbed before adding the next. You don’t have to stir constantly, but you need to stir very frequently to develop the starch for a creamy risotto and to allow even cooking. Continue until the risotto is cooked and tender in the middle – about 35-40 minutes.
Add one last ladle of stock, stir and turn off the heat. Put the roasted squash on top, and put the lid on the risotto to allow to rest for 5 minutes – this ensures it’s creamy.
Add the parmesan cheese and pancetta, and fold gently to avoid mashing the squash. Serve with extra Parmesan.
Braised Chicken Thighs
A great side for the risotto; just put it in the oven when you pull the squash out. With resting time, it will be ready at the same time as the risotto.
Preheat oven to 350. On a plate, mix flour, onion powder, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning (or sage, thyme, etc). Lightly coat boneless, skinless thighs, shaking off the excess.
In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add EVOO and brown the thighs until golden on the outside (they’ll finish cooking through in the oven). Place the browned thighs in a baking dish with sage leaves and add ¾ cup hot chicken stock and ¼ cup sauvignon blanc. Seal the pan, and bake until cooked through – about 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.