kruizing with kikukat

Monday, November 18, 2013

Almost Barefoot Contessa: Butternut Squash Risotto

I cannot explain the logic behind my actions, but I found myself in Costco twice this past weekend.  I know I wanted to get kitty Frontline, but I can't remember what else.  And yes, there are still only 2 days in a weekend, so that means I went to Costco 2 days in a row.  Considering many of you shop at Costco, this may not be a big deal, but for me, Costco is about 90 minutes (now, since the Daniel K. Inouye highway was rededicated/realigned).  Costco used to be 2 hours+ from where I live so I suppose the euphoria of being closer to my favorite club store overrides being sensible.

And The Help was no help.  In fact, he contributed to the maladjusted thinking by saying he forgot to get "this and that" when we were less than 15 minutes out of Kona (the first time).  Then he said he welcomed the opportunity to drive his other car.  And within 24 hours of our first Costco trip, we were back on the road again, headed west.

We actually ended up spending way more $ on the 2nd trip, buying all the stuff we missed  on the 1st trip.  The Help got a dangerous stocking stuffer for D2 (HE can clean the tape residue off everything after she gets done with it. . .maybe I will get him a gallon of Goo Gone for Christmas).  We also stocked up on a ton of sausage (which I don't even think I like).  One thing we bought that we both agreed on was a tray of pre-cubed butternut squash.  I love butternut squash, and The Help likes the tray because its all cleaned and cut.

Roasted butternut squash is ono, and my favorite way to have it is in a risotto.  The recipe I use is adapted from the Barefoot Contessa's Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash.  Shallots and pancetta are not always easy to find in Hilo, and I always have the Costco bag of bacon bits on hand in the fridge.  I love the aroma of saffron, but its an expensive ingredient, and I don't think most people stock it all the time either.  I will go out of my way to get some, but if you don't have it, rest assured the risotto is yummy without it too.

click on recipe title for printable recipe
Butternut Squash Risotto
(adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

     2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cubed
     2 tbsp olive oil
     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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