; Supermarket Serenade: Barefoot Thursday-Butternut Squash Risotto

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Barefoot Thursday-Butternut Squash Risotto

Welcome to another installment of Barefoot Thursday! Barefoot Thursday comes twice a month and it’s a day when food bloggers everywhere (well about 100 bloggers right now) prepare a recipe created by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. You know you want to join in…just do it!

Today’s recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto was the delicious selection of Rachel of Rachel Likes to Cook and may I say kudos to Rachel for such a wonderful selection.


Butternut squash are in season right now and are plentiful in the supermarket. What is exciting (well I get excited about such silly things) is that some supermarkets make it easier than ever to work with butternut squash by providing pre-cut squash so busy cooks can skip the peeling and dicing and get right to the cooking. I can think of three (oh there are many more, but I’m just throwing out three) fabulous reasons why butternut squash should make it into your supermarket cart this fall:

It is a good source of fiber and vitamin C
It is an excellent source of beta-carotene
Its sweet nutty flavor just screams “The Fall”

Super tips for choosing your squash:

Look for firm squash with smooth all-over buff colored skin. Look for a “ball-shaped” bottom and a thick neck. Select the larger varieties for sweeter flavor.

The recipe calls for a teaspoon of saffron threads-which is a lot, but I think the saffron makes all the difference in flavor. Saffron can be very expensive in the supermarket so I would suggest trying to find it in a Middle Eastern Grocery Store. I found mine in a spice outlet store here in CT. where it was pretty inexpensive. Also use caution when buying your Arborio rice. In the rice aisle of the supermarket the Arborio rice was $1.00 a pound more than in the International Foods aisle! Watch those unit prices!

While I am sure that Ina’s original recipe is absolutely divine I did make a few tiny changes. I forgot to buy Pancetta so I had to sub regular bacon and with that I could not bear to add all that butter, so I left it all out. I did use the bacon drippings so I’m not a complete low fat angel…but I also cut the Parmesan cheese in half. What was the result? Fabulous. I served the risotto with sautéed scallops and green beans and here’s the good news…it made so much that there’s plenty for lunch tomorrow (and probably dinner again)!


Butternut Squash Risotto (Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa)
Original Recipe here


1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock
3 slices of bacon, diced
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.
In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, sauté the bacon and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes.


Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan. Mix well and serve.

38 comments:

Candy said...

Looks great with the scallops. I wish I could have found precut squash. That was the hardest part!Mine was a little salty so I think leaving out some of the Parm was a good call.

Peggy said...

Oh I love your blogsite - so cute! Your risotto presentation is outstanding. I did love the pancetta in it though. But I bet yours was great.

Audrey said...

What a gorgeous meal you put together. Pre-cut squash is a lifesaver, isn't t? I'm sure I wouldn't cook with it as often if I had to tackle a whole squash. I'm going to scroll down to your pork tenderloin now...

Lys said...

Sounds amazing! I'll have to look for the precut squash.

Laura said...

Wow, does that meal sound fantastic! Loved all the butternut squash and risotto buying tips - thanks! When I finally get around to making this properly, I'll definitely keep those in mind ;-)

Mandy said...

Your risotto looks fabulous. I must know where you find pre-peeled butternut squash. I found that to be the worst part of the recipe.

Great Job!!

Jodie said...

Sounds and looks wonderful!

Allie said...

I'm drooling over everyone's risotto, but yours with the scallops won my heart!

The Blonde Duck said...

It sounds like you had a lot of fun with this one!

chocolatechic said...

Yours looks so great.

I never thought of putting it with sea food.

Katherine Aucoin said...

Your risotto looks scrumptous, I love the scallops on the side too!

Aggie said...

Yours looks great! I wish my store pre-cut mine! I'm always afraid I'm going to cut myself! A very delicious dish...although I wasn't too sure about my version at first. I can't wait to make it again!

If you find that brown rice risotto recipe please email it to me! I would love to bake it in the oven next time...

Veronica said...

Thanks for the comment love everyone!

Mandy, I have purchased pre-cut squash from a local supermarket: Stew Leonards, from BJs wholesale club and I've also seen it at Stop and Shop.

Aggie, I'm going to look for that recipe and I'll send it to you.

Cathy said...

Your blog is fabulous! I love your shopping tips -- I got lucky and stumbled upon reasonably priced saffron threads, but I will definitely be checking back here for tips! Precut butternut squash -- brilliant! And what a great idea to add some seafood!

Lisa said...

Served with scallops? Yummy! I think you've convinced me to join next month.

Maria said...

What a perfect pairing for scallops! Looks lovely!

Live.Love.Eat said...

Oh yum. I have never made risotto like this before. This looks amazing especially with those scallops!

Barbara Bakes said...

Great information about butternut squash!

Mari said...

Thanks for stopping by my site. I love your blog - so cute and great recipes too!

Bridgett said...

Oh wow, that really looks delicious. The colors alone are gorgeous and inviting!

1freshstart said...

Oh, that sounds delish! I haven't seen any precut squash! I'm totally jealous.
~Cat

That Girl said...

I love the chunks of squash in this.

Grace said...

i can't decide if i should try to make risotto or not. on the plus side, it always looks so creamy and comforting, but on the negative side, i'm super lazy and easily distracted. it's a conundrum. :)

Veronica said...

Grace, do it...do it...just a little risotto peer pressure.

Bellini Valli said...

Great choice of scallops to go with this creamy risotto. I still have yet to find a BC recipe that doesn't turn out perfectly:D

Sara said...

I love butternut squash, in fact I love most winter squashes. I just picked up a huge acorn squash at the market today!

Heather B said...

Love the risotto and scallops! Too yummy!

Amy said...

You risotto and scallops look delicious!

Thanks for your comment on my blog!

Debinhawaii said...

Your risotto looks wonderful--great pictures and those scallops--yum!

Mary said...

Veronica, this is an absolutely gorgeous meal. I love Ina Garten's recipes!

Robin Sue said...

Move over squash risotto, I want those scallops! What a wonderful meal you made there. Can I move in?

Laura said...

I couldn't bear to use that much butter either! Your pictures look nice.

Veggie Mom said...

I love squash and I love scallops. Yummy!

Julie said...

That looks SO good...I love risotto. I've been wanting to join Barefoot Bloggers, but I'm afraid of the commitment :)

Jenny said...

Very pretty risotto! I love the color, it just scream fall. This is the best time of year for cooking.

Debbie said...

THAT. IS.MAKING.MY.MOUTH. WATER. I am so hungry right now and I keep clicking on these blogs with food. ACK!

Thanks for stopping by Blog Around the World. I just wanted to let you know that you are all linked up! Check in daily to see where in the world we are headed next!

NatNibbles said...

Looks great! I LOVE Butternut Squash.

Prudy said...

Oh Veronica-this looks amazing! Is't it so yummy! Precut squash is sooo tempting.