Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon & Sage
by Gina Jantzen

URL Source:
Source: Fine Cooking, 2005, volume 74
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Food Group: Rice
Serves: 4


1-2 quart LOW-SODIUM chicken broth; more as needed
1/2-3/4 cup(s) Dry white wine
2 tablespoon(s) Olive oil
10 large Fresh sage leaves
5 Slices of bacon, sliced in 3rds
2 medium Shallots, minced (about 1/4 cup)
2 cup(s) Peeled and 1/4-inch-diced butternut squash
1.5 cup(s) Arborio or other risotto rice
1/2 cup(s) Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 Combine the chicken broth and wine in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. In a medium (3-qt.) saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and fry, turning once, until they’ve turned dark green in most places, about 1 minute total. Don’t brown. With a fork, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Put the bacon in the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to the plate with the sage.

Add the shallots to the saucepan and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the squash and rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Ladle in enough of the hot broth mixture to just cover the rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broth is mostly absorbed. Add another ladleful of broth and continue cooking, stirring, and adding more ladlefuls of broth as the previous additions are absorbed, until the rice is tender with just a slightly toothsome quality, about 25 minutes. As the risotto cooks, adjust the heat so that it bubbles gently. The broth mixture needn’t be boiling; it should just be hot. If you use all the broth and wine before the rice gets tender, use more broth but not more wine.

Set aside the nicest looking sage leaves as a garnish (1 leaf per serving). Crumble half of the bacon and the remaining sage leaves into the risotto. Stir in the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Crumble the remaining bacon over each serving and garnish with a sage leaf.

Notes:I served this as a main dish with a salad. It was excellent and enough for 4. If used as a side, would feed 6.