Winter Squash Risotto

Chef Ben Lierman, from Clark’s Appliance Showcase in Greenwood.

  • 1 butternut squash — halved and seeded
  • 6 cups chicken stock — homemade or low salt canned
  • 1 bacon slice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots — minced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 dash freshly ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper — to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary — finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese — freshly grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place squash, cut side down on a baking sheet.  Roast in the oven approximately 35-40 minutes, until softened.  Scoop squash from skin and mash smooth.

Place stock in a saucepan and heat until simmering. In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, fry bacon piece until crisp.  Remove bacon, leaving grease in the pan. Crumble bacon for use as a garnish and set aside. Add oil and shallots and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook for 5 minutes over moderately high heat. Stir slowly but constantly. This will “toast” the rice and start to turn it slightly golden and feel loose and dry.

Add the wine all at once to the rice and cook over fairly high heat to boil it down. When the rice is almost dry, stir in 1 cup of stock and mashed squash. Simmer until the stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock 1 cup at a time and stirring until rice becomes creamy while the grains remain separate and firm, but not hard in the center of the grain. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the nutmeg, salt, pepper and rosemary and stir. Stir in the butter and ½ cup Parmesan. Place in individual serving bowls and sprinkle with remaining cheese, crumbled bacon and a sprig of rosemary. Enjoy! Yield: 4 to 6 main course servings or 8 to 12 generous side dishes.