Randy Mayor; Jan Gautro
4 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)

Chardonnay is a varietal that's difficult to pair with foods. But the creamy, buttery sweetness of butternut squash makes a good complement to wine. The same is true of tarragon, which in small amounts is a delicious backdrop for most chardonnays. Utterly satisfying, this pairing is comfort food and comfort wine at its best.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 475°.

Step 2

Place squash on a nonstick jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 475° for 20 minutes or until tender, turning after 10 minutes.

Step 3

Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

Step 4

Combine broth, water, wine, and tarragon in a saucepan; bring to a simmer. Keep warm over low heat.

Step 5

Cook pancetta in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove pancetta from pan; drain on a paper towel. Discard pan drippings. Add onion and oil to pan; sauté 10 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add rice to pan; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth mixture; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, and simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes. (Do not stir; rice will have a liquid consistency similar to stew.)

Step 6

Place pan in oven; bake at 325° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Stir in the squash, pancetta, cheese, salt, and pepper. Cover with a clean cloth; let stand 10 minutes (rice will continue to cook). Sprinkle with pine nuts. Garnish with tarragon sprigs, if desired.

Step 7

Perfect wine: Clos du Val Chardonnay 2001 (Carneros, CA), $ This chardonnay has refined flavors reminiscent of custard, caramel, apple tarts, and honey. There's a hint of oak, but the wine is not superbuttery, oaky, or toasty. This wine is complemented by the savoriness of the rice and the sweetness of the squash.

Ratings & Reviews


October 17, 2015
This risotto was so so good. I've been looking for a savory dish for butternut squash (that isn't soup) for a really long time and this is exactly what I had in mind. I made it as written except that I needed to add a little more stock to the rice before I put it in the oven, but I think I may have simmered it a little too hot so I'm calling it user error. I served it as a main dish with garlic bread and my whole family ate it. My 2 year old and 5 year old even cleaned their plates and they don't eat ANYTHING. Thank you for a wonderful take on a fall favorite.

grace4today's Review

March 27, 2014
I don't cook much with squash because I like savory more than sweet. Squash tends to have a sweeter flavor than I like. However, this recipe is incredibly flavorful and savory. I did add extra garlic and pancetta. But other than that, I didn't change a thing. I will definitely make this again.

PortePrince's Review

December 14, 2013
I just want to say that this the first recipe that I have made twice in a row. This recipe is awesome. The flavors are great. The roasted squash brings out the sweetness and is a complement to the pancetta. I used Marsala and it was perfect. I made the same recipe except I got rid of the squash and added sliced sautéed button mushrooms that I sautéed with the onions and fresh grated parmesan cheese at the end. Excellent. I don't know what the reviewers are talking about when they say that this recipe produces bland flavors and they won't make it again. The whole point of cooking is the improvise and improve. I would say to them, make it again and adjust the seasoning to your taste. However, the recipe as is, is outstanding.

MissCindyR's Review

December 07, 2013

Ebanietti's Review

February 17, 2013
I liked the fact that I didn't have to stir this risotto but it was very bland. I even had a glass of chardonnay with it and it just was not very good. I did use turkey bacon instead of the pancetta but I don't think it should have made that much of a difference. If I am going to splurge on risotto I want it to be absolutely delicious. I was planning on using this for a wine tasting party so I am so glad I tried it before hand. I will not be serving this at the party.

Mochef13's Review

January 04, 2013
This recipe far exceeded our expectations. The favors are amazing and it is one of the best risottos we've ever had! Not too rich or overbearing, this recipe is perfect. Added to our favorite homemade recipes, must try!!!

spanielmom's Review

October 21, 2012
This truly was an excellent dish. My first time to make risotto. My kids loved this. I think if you didn't have pancetta you could get away with using bacon or even turkey bacon. This recipe is a keeper.

kathycox17's Review

October 17, 2012
Hands down, fantastic!

fleminsa's Review

October 14, 2012

Baygirl1986's Review

October 11, 2012
After reading all of the fabulous reviews on this dish, I was really excited to make it. I was very disappointed however with the final product as it was very bland. I added some garlic powder and salt to give it a little more flavor, but this is one I will not be making again.