Best Ever Squash Dish
Like a lot of people, Mike is not fond of winter squash unless it’s pumpkin in a pie. And being the clone of Mike that he is, I don’t think Peter is fond of squash either. So I have to figure out what to do with the squash we get in our CSA so that I don’t end up eating it everyday myself – I like it, but not that much!
So I tried this Butternut Squash Risotto from Food52. To quote Mike, “This is possibly the best thing that I’ve ever had made with squash.” (although he also wasn’t sure it was not an awful thing to do to a nice risotto). Of course this also follows our family rule of adding bacon makes anything taste good. Pancetta counts as bacon in my book.
By pairing this with a Beet-Arugula salad I managed to use three items from the CSA in one meal! I think the earthiness of the beets went well with the risotto.
I made a couple of adjustments, so here’s my version. I find sage too overpowering in some recipes, so I lessened the amount. I used the pancetta and manchego as described in the Food52 recipe, but I think you could get by with bacon, and any decent hard cheese. Something nutty like an aged gouda would be great. I really liked the way this recipe added all the liquid at once and didn’t require you to stand there stirring the stock in one ladleful at a time.
Butternut Squash Risotto with Pancetta and Manchego
1 butternut squash peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
4 oz pancetta, diced
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup arborio rice
1 slosh dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock (I had turkey so I used that)
1 1/3 cups water
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
3/4-1 cup manchego cheese, shredded
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
salt & pepper
The first step is to roast the squash. Toss the cubes with a tablespoon or so of oil and some salt and pepper. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet, and roast at 400° for 40 minutes, stirring them to brown on a second side about halfway through cooking. Set aside for later.
Cook the pancetta in a pan until it’s crispy and much of the fat is rendered. Remove the pancetta from the pan. Drain on paper towels, then you can add it to the roasted squash.
Pour off the rendered fat from the pan. Melt the butter, then add the onions. Cook the onions until tender, then add the garlic and sauté for about another minute. Add the rice and sauté for another minute or so making sure the rice is all nicely coated in oil.
Pour in a few tablespoons of white wine (1 big slosh), and stir scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Then add the stock , water and sage. Bring it just back to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and cook at a low simmer for 20 minutes. Then turn off the heat, and stir in the squash, pancetta and cheese and let sit for 10 minutes. I also added a few grinds of pepper at this point.
Serve sprinkled with toasted pine nuts.
Beet Arugula Salad
cooked beets cut into slivers
creamy goat cheese
Arrange the arugula on a plate, top with the slivered beets. Drizzle vinaigrette over the beets and greens, then top with crumbled cheese and nuts. Amounts depend on how many servings.