Butternut Squash Risotto

     2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cubed

     2 tbsp olive oil

     salt

     1/2 tsp pepper, divided

     3 cans chicken broth

     6 tbsp butter

     1/2 onion, chopped

     1/2 c cooked bacon bits

     1 1/2 c arborio rice

     1/2 c white wine

     1/2 tsp saffron threads (optional)

     1/2 c grated parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place butternut squash cubes in a foil-lined shallow pan.  Toss with olive oil, salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Roast for 30 minutes, tossing midway through.  While squash is roasting, heat chicken broth in a medium saucepan.  In a 5 quart Dutch oven, melt butter.  Add onion and bacon bits.  Saute 7 minutes.  Add rice.  When grains are coated, add wine and cook for 2 minutes.  Add 2 full ladles of chicken broth and saffron threads (optional).  Stir.  When broth is absorbed, add chicken broth, 2 ladles at a time, stirring until chicken broth is absorbed.  Repeat until all broth is used.  Stir in roasted butternut squash chunks and parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.

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