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

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!!!

Sweet and Savory

December 01, 2018
This is by far my husband's and my most favorite risotto recipe. I love cooking the rice in the oven. It's convenient and the rice cooks all the way through. The flavors of the squash and pancetta blend together so well. Instead of water, I used extra chicken broth and I used a Riesling wine. I doubled the amount of rice, and therefore the liquid as well, so we would have leftovers. Instead of pancetta, my husband had asparagus and devoured it.

jroretired's Review

October 22, 2011
This was amazing!! Restaurant quality or better!!! Would shred the cheese and use less salt next time. YUMMY!!!!!!

Christoffel's Review

September 11, 2011
This is a really great receipe, I made it without the pancetta and swapped vegetable stock for chicken stock to make it vegetarian.

portland's Review

October 08, 2009
nice, easy risotto. finishing in the oven makes it a good dish for make ahead risotto. pancetta needs a little more cooking time (i like mine more on the gelatinous side than crispy). next time i will cook it along with the rice on the cook top.

BerthoudBaker's Review

November 25, 2011

dpetrin's Review

March 24, 2009
Excellent recipe!!! Great flavors. I make it often and it's always a hit.

kario8's Review

August 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.

AccidentalBaker's Review

October 28, 2010
VERY good!!! Trader Joe's makes making this dish super easy. The recipe doesn't make a lot so if this is a main course or you're feeding more than 3-4 people, double up. I used the precut butternut squash at TJ's- microwaved it and then put it in the oven for ~5 minutes to firm it up. I used Marsala wine. I used orzo pasta. And I substituted sage for the tarragon. Everyone loved this recipe, except our 20 month old who the dish was originally made for. All in, it took about an hour total.