My husband and I are not big on all the hoopla of candy and roses that are often associated with Valentine’s Day. Sure, when we were dating I received roses and candy but honestly, $70.00 or $80.00 for a bouquet of roses and $20.00 for a heart-shaped box of chocolates, (which has about 8 chocolates), is not our thing. We would much rather spend that cash on a nice bottle of wine and ingredients for a delicious dinner at home.
We do like to cook together and usually collaborate to make a nice dinner on Valentine’s Day. We gather our ingredients, open a bottle of wine, put some music on and start peeling, roasting, chopping and sautéing. Before we know it, dinner is made!
Once we decide on a menu, we just delegate tasks and work together until the meal is finished. This year for dinner we (OK, I…lol) decided on something a little different from our usual pasta/meat/potatoes fare.
This year we had an early Valentine’s Day dinner. The meal consisted of Chicken Cordon Blue (which I bought fresh, already stuffed and wrapped. It was in the meat department of our local Atlantic Superstore®), mixed green vegetables and for the main event, butternut squash risotto with pancetta. I found the recipe on the President’s Choice® website.
For the chicken we just pan seared the meat in butter and olive oil and finished it in the oven. The green veges, we sautéed in butter some fresh green beans, a couple big handfuls of spinach and threw in some frozen peas). The star of the show was the Butternut Squash Risotto With Pancetta (recipe below). It is divinely creamy and the perfect treat. It’s made with tender butternut squash, parmigiano reggiano, pumpkin oil and complemented by crisply cooked pancetta.
I love this Blue Menu chicken broth. The delicious chicken aroma when you open the container will make your mouth water.
This was my first time using PC Black Label 100% Pure Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil. It is a rich dark brown colour; my pan is dark, but you can see the colour of the oil in the little dish behind the pan. It smells and tastes intensely nutty and has a rich toasted pumpkin flavour.
Cook pancetta, turning occasionally, until crisp. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Cool, then crumble.
Add shallots to saucepan and cook until translucent.
Add squash and rice; cook, stirring until rice is translucent. (I found it took about 5 minutes)
Add ½ cup (125 mL) hot broth at as time; cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed. Repeat. (In hindsight, I didn’t cut my squash quite small enough, so to be sure the squash was cooked, needed to add about 1/2 cup more broth than suggested.)
When fully cooked, stir in Parmigiano, salt and pepper.
Scatter crispy pancetta over the risotto, saving some for a garnish.
This was so flavourful, creamy and scrumptious. I will definitely be making this dish again!
- 3 cups (750 mL) PC Blue Menu Chicken Broth ( I actually used a little more than this, closer to 4 cups but I think it is because my squash was cut a bit too big)
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) PC BLACK LABEL 100% PURE ROASTED PUMPKIN SEED OIL
- 4 oz (125 g) thinly sliced pancetta
- 1 cup (250 mL) chopped shallots
- 2 cups (500 mL) diced butternut squash, ½ inch (1 cm) cubes ( Be sure to cut it to this size so it will cook properly)
- 1 cup (250 mL) arborio rice
- ½ cup (125 mL) white wine
- ½ cup (125 mL) finely grated PC BLACK LABEL AGED 36 MONTHS PARMIGIANO REGGIANO
- ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
- ¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
- In saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low to keep warm.
- In wide shallow saucepan, heat 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the oil over medium heat; cook pancetta for 6 to 7 minutes, turning occasionally, or until crisp. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate. Cool, then crumble.
- Add shallots to saucepan; cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until softened.
- Add squash and rice; cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until rice is translucent.
- Stir in white wine; simmer until absorbed, stirring constantly.
- Using ladle, add ½ cup (125 mL) hot broth; cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, adding hot stock ½ cup (125 mL) at a time and waiting until liquid is absorbed before adding more stock, for 18 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender with a firm centre and dish is creamy overall.
- Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a simmer.
- You may not need to use all of the broth.
- Remove from heat. Stir in Parmigiano, salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately, drizzled with remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil and garnished with pancetta.
What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?
Do you go out or make a special dinner?
Do you usually give or receive candy and flowers?