1(1 ½ - 2 pound)Butternut Squash– peeled, halved, seeded and medium dice
6LargeSage Leaves– roughly diced
5TBSUnsalted Butter- divided
2LargeShallots– minced (about ½ Cup)
3Large ClovesGarlic– minced
1 ½CupsArborio Rice
1CupDry White Wine
4CupsReduced Sodium Chicken Stock* – warmed on stove or in microwave
½ -¾CupParmesan Cheese– freshly grated (depending on taste)
¾tspSalt, or more to taste - divided
Fresh Ground Pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place a large skillet over medium heat and add pancetta, cook until crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a medium bowl. Add squash to the pancetta drippings in the skillet. Season with ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes*. Add the sage leaves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer the squash and sage to the bowl with the pancetta.
Meanwhile: Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven, with a tight fitting lid, over medium – medium/low heat. Add the shallots and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds – 1 minute.
Add the rice and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted and every grain is coated in butter, about 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup of wine and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the Arborio starts to look creamy in texture. Stir in the stock, increase heat to medium-high and bring contents to a rapid simmer (this will take about 2-4 minutes).
Cover pot, transfer to the oven and bake, stirring once halfway through, until the rice is tender and the liquid is almost absorbed, about 25 minutes.
Transfer risotto to the stove top and place over low heat. Gently stir in the butternut squash mixture, remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and ½ cup of the parmesan cheese*. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Transfer risotto to serving bowls, and garnish with additional parmesan cheese if desired. Serve and Enjoy!
Optional Garnish, Crispy Sage Leaves: Heat ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium high heat. Add sage leaves and fry, 3-5 seconds, until crispy. Remove with a fork or slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt. Use as garnish for risotto.
*Read this recipe all the way through first, there are two components *You can substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock *If the pan seems dry when cooking the squash, add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil *Optional: Stir in a tablespoon of wine to the risotto at the end, with the butternut squash and cheese. *You can prepare the pancetta and squash mixture a day in advance. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before using.