Here’s a recipe I developed myself from a few different recipes and instinct. We all really enjoy it (even Kate!). We love Risotto and my favorite part of this recipe’s preparation is that it doesn’t require constant stirring! This is a great side dish to a fall meal or could easily stand alone as a main course. You can omit the pancetta if you need to make it vegetarian or can’t get pancetta. Though it definitely adds something to the dish and I’ve found that pancetta is more widely available lately.
1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (~3 1/2 cups)
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
4 ounces chopped pancetta
1 1/2 c. onion, finely chopped (preferrably a sweet variety)
1 Tbs. oil (1/2 canola, 1/2 olive)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/8 c. Arborio rice
3/4 c. parmesean cheese
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
Preheat oven to 475.
Lightly coat large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Arrange squash in one layer. Bake until tender, turning once (~20 minutes total).
Reduce oven temp to 325.
Combine broth and water in a saucepan, bring to a simmer and keep warm over low heat.
Cook pancetta over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven until crisp. Drain on paper towel and discard pan drippings. Reduce heat to medium, add onion and oil to pan, saute until onion is tender. Add garlic and saute another minute. Stir in rice and saute another minute. Stir in broth mixture, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes (do not stir!).
Place pan in oven, bake at 325 for 15 minutes. Stir in the squash, pancetta, cheese, salt and pepper. Cover with a clean cloth and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 or so as a side and 3 adults as a main dish.