Butternut Squash Risotto with Pancetta ~ 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 like to cook together and always 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 ready!
Once we decide on a menu, we just delegate tasks and work together until the meal is prepared. This year for dinner we…(OK, I…lol) decided on something a little different from our usual pasta/meat/potatoes fare.
This year dinner consisted of Chicken Cordon Blue (which I bought fresh, already stuffed), mixed green vegetables and for the main event, butternut squash risotto with pancetta. (I found the recipe on the PC® website and was given permission to use it here.)
For the chicken, we just pan seared the meat in butter and olive oil and finished it in the oven. For the veggies, 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 which is divinely creamy and the perfect treat. It’s made with tender butternut squash, Parmigiano Reggiano, pumpkin oil and complemented by crisply cooked pancetta.
The delicious chicken aroma when you open the container of chicken broth will make your mouth water.
This was my first time using 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 -3/4 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 and I will definitely be making this dish again!
- 3 cups (750 mL) 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) 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 PARMIGIANO REGGIANO
- ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
- ¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
- In a saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low to keep warm.
- In a 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 a 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 a ladle, add ½ cup (125 mL) hot broth; cook, stirring constantly until the 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 the 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?