I love squash, especially butternut squash. I have been making butternut squash risotto for a long time now. The creamy roasted squash folded into the risotto at the very end, and then topped with a warm brussel sprout salad that has bacon and a vinaigrette with some orange zest that give the dish some unexpected brightness. The pop of pomegranate sprinkled on top gives an extra splash of color on top and in your mouth. Then add an extra layer with goat cheese to make the dish well rounded and melt in your mouth.
Risotto is one of those dishes that is so satisfying when it’s all complete and also so comforting. Some may think risotto takes a long time to make, but honestly it can be very quick and easy once you have the method down.
Some say you should ladle your stock, broth or water one ladle at a time, and stir often until the Arborio rice has fully absorbed the liquid. I say throw that out the window. Add one to two ladles at a time. Stir and then let sit for bit. Come back and stir and then add more liquid to the rice, until it’s fully at it peak and ready to eat. You want a bit of al dente, you don’t want the rice to be mush but still hold substance.
Are you ready to get started on this multi step meal, that will be all worth in the end? Let’s go!
Prep/Cooking time 1.5hrs
Ingredients – Risotto
– 1 cup of cubed butternut
– 1-2Tbsp of olive oil
– sea salt
– 4 strips of thick cut bacon cut 1/4 inch pieces
– 1 cup Arborio rice
– 1/2 cup yellow onion diced
– 2 garlic cloves minced
– pinch of chili flakes
– 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
– 3/4 cup white wine
– 1/4 tsp sea salt (more if you feel you need it)
– 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
– 2-3 cups homemade or store bought chicken broth or vegetable broth.
– 10 large Brussels sprouts thinly sliced
– 1/4 tsp orange zest
– 1 tsp Dijon mustard
– 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
– a drizzle of honey
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– pomegranate seeds
– crumbled goat cheese
1) Preheat oven to 400. Chop butternut squash and lay on a baking sheet lined in parchment paper. Drizzle 1-2 Tbsp’s of olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt on the squash and toss to well coat. Throw in the oven until tender and starting to caramelize. About 30-40 mins. Once out of the oven, take out and let cool for about 20-30 mins. While cooling you can start the risotto process.
2) Meanwhile in a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot, over medium high heat, add your sliced bacon and cook until just slightly crisp. While bacon is rendering, in a small pot add your chicken broth, and bring to a simmer. One bacon is slightly crisp, place on a plate with a paper towel to soak up some of that grease. Remove all but 2 Tbsp of bacon grease from the pot.
3) Add the diced onions to the pot and sauté until just translucent. Add garlic and the pinch of chili flakes. Sauté for 1 minute. Now add your Arborio rice and stir all together. Cook for about 30 seconds, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid from the onions. Now pour in your white wine and turn heat to medium – low, and stir the rice with the wine. Make sure rice does now stick to the bottom of the pan. You want all the wine to absorb into the rice.
4) Once wine is absorbed, you can start ladling, two large scoops of hot chicken broth into the pot at a time. Make sure you stir, so the bottom doesn’t stick. Do not add anymore broth until the first batch of broth in the rice had absorbed. You want to keep repeating this step, until rice is nice and creamy and the texture of the rice is just slightly al dente.
5) While the liquid is absorbing, get out your food processor or blender. You want to blend up your squash now. You want to get it nice and creamy.
Tip for squash – if not getting to a silky creamy texture. Add some water or some broth a little at a time, until you get the texture you want.
6) Once you have blended the squash, you can now start to thinly slice the Brussels sprouts. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, adid your sliced Brussels sprouts. Sauté until, slightly golden and a little crisp.
7) In a bowl add your Dijon, orange zest, honey, white wine vinegar, and pepper. Add the bacon and the sautéed Brussels sprouts and toss.
8) Once your risotto is al dente, stir in the silky squash. You can add as much or as little as you want.
9) Plate your risotto, and top with some of the warm Brussels sprout salad, crumbled goat cheese and pomegranate seeds. ENJOY!
Note – I added some simple balsamic marinated chicken thighs to this dish. You do not have to do that. But you can use whatever marinade you wish.