This seasonal fall rice dish featuring roasted butternut squash makes a satisfying side dish for roasted turkey, roast beef or ham, but it’s hearty enough to be a main dish, too. You can make it a meatless dish by leaving out the pancetta and using vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 ounce pancetta, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/4 cups uncooked Arborio rice
1/2 cup chardonnay
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lemon thyme or 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme plus 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°.
Arrange nuts in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes or until toasted, stirring twice. Place nuts in a bowl. Drizzle butter over warm nuts; sprinkle with sugar and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Toss well to coat.
Combine squash and 1 tablespoon oil, tossing to coat. Arrange squash in a single layer on jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until squash is just tender. Remove from pan; stir in garlic. Set aside.
Bring broth and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add pancetta to saucepan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Add onion; cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Stir in squash, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Top with cheese and nuts.
Love this dish, but made several recipe modifications: I also roasted the squash longer (30 minutes total - tossed after 20 minutes);. I used peppered bacon and eliminated the extra salt and pepper; substituted pine nuts for the walnuts; rather than adding the butter and brown sugar to the nuts, I simply roasted them for 5 minutes (tossed after 2) and sprinkled them with cinnamon after they had slightly cooled.
I will definitely make this again - even my picky husband said it was fantastic!
This is a great recipe! I was hesitant to make it because of the time it takes but it was actually pretty easy. It comes out creamy and flavorful and I didn't miss the large amount of cheese I have used in risotto in the past. I made it with tilapia but I think I would make it with another type of fish in the future, something lemony would be good.
I've never had risotto before, but was excited to try a new dish. The dish was bland and mushy. Not sure if that is how risotto is supposed to be. All I really tasted were the walnuts. Thumbs down on this one..
For those who really like butternut squash in dishes other than pies, I think they will probably like this recipe. To us, the rice was very good, but the squash just tasted out of place with the rest of the dish.
I was so excited to try this recipe with my surplus of butternut squash. I was pleasantly surprised when my husband and kids (all non veggie lovers) raved about it. I followed the recipe exactly but also had a red wine reduction as an additional topping.
Really good--I used bacon instead of panchetta and also served grilled chicken with it. Added some salt and more sugar to the nuts also. Used brown rice instead of araborio and it did take a lot longer to cook but worth it,