Honeynut Squash and Bacon Risotto

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A piping hot bowl of risotto topped with cheese is definitely a cold weather dish for me. This one is studded with sweet honeynut squash, perfumed with dried rosemary and topped with crisp bacon and toasted pumpkin seeds.

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I like to finish my risotto with a pat or butter or a splash of cream but that’s entirely up to you!

I’m using the dried rosemary from our summer herb garden. To dry herbs, clean and pat them dry. Place in a single layer on a paper towel in the microwave and microwave on high for 10-15 seconds at a time until dry. Store in a cool dark place.

Honeynut Squash and Bacon Risotto

  • 1 Honeynut squash, just under 2 lbs, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes, Butternut will work fine if Honeynut is not available
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt

Toss the squash in the oil and salt. Scatter onto a baking tray in a single layer and roast at 400°F for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside.

  • 8 slices of bacon, cut into strips
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups Aborio or other Risotto rice
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed with your hands or using a mortar and pestle
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 L chicken stock, plus more boiling water as needed
  • 2 Tbsp butter or splash or full fat cream
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, optional
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium stock pot, bring the stock to a boil. Add the rosemary and bay leaf and keep on simmer. Separately, bring a kettle of water to a boil and set aside.

In a deep pan, render the bacon over medium heat until bacon is crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and set aside reserving the fat in the pan. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook for 5 minutes until slightly sticky and translucent but not brown.

Add the uncooked rice and stir until heated through and just beginning to toast. Add one ladle at a time of the hot stock, stirring and waiting until the liquid has fully absorbed before adding another. Once you are out of stock, use the hot water from above. Repeat until the rice is al dente with a good bite in the center.

Add the roasted squash, the cheese and butter if using. Stir through and add enough water to achieve your desired consistency. Adjust for salt and pepper

Plate into warmed bowls and top with reserved bacon, pumpkin seeds and more parmesan.

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