Here I am with more orange food.
I don’t know what my problem is, but I seriously cannot get enough of all of the orange things. Last week I was munching on a sweet potato quiche for days (and I ain’t mad about it), and before that I had all the cinnamon sugar pumpkin donuts, and I am literally going to turn orange if I eat any more butternut squash (mac and cheese, anyone?).
BUT IT’S SO GOOD.
I am very aware that I’m repeating myself from last week’s post about the orange food, but I just can’t help it. I have this annoying head cold and things just aren’t making sense right now. I’m not making sense right now.
But one thing I do know to be true, is that butternut squash risotto is king. There are 5,216 recipes for it out there, but I have a feeling that this one is extra special. Again, I have a head cold, but I think you can trust me and my risotto. Instead of folding cubes of roasty toasty butternut squash into the dish, I decided to puree it up with some pure Wisconsin maple syrup, nutmeg, cayenne and stock, then use that as the liquid to make the risotto. Not to mention the crispy bacon pieces and fried sage leaves.
Yes, I just mentioned the crispy bacon and fried sage leaves.
It’s the ultimate sweet and savory risotto with a touch of heat. And it’s suuuuuuper creamy.
I think you’ll love it.
- ½ small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. coarse salt, divided
- 5-6 cups unsalted vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 4 strips bacon, chopped
- 4 leaves fresh sage, chopped
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 ¼ cups arborio rice
- 1 tsp. coarse salt
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- Shaved parmesan and microgreens, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place squash cubes on a greased baking sheet and toss with olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Roast for 25-35 minutes, until soft and caramelized on the edges. Transfer squash to a blender. Add remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, stock, maple syrup, nutmeg and cayenne pepper and puree until very smooth (mixture should be watery). Place squash sauce in a saucepan on low heat to keep it warm.
- In a Dutch oven, cook bacon pieces until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Fry sage leaves in the bacon fat until crispy. Place on the paper towel to dry. Add shallot to the bacon fat and stir for 30-60 seconds. Stir in arborio rice, salt and black pepper and bring to medium-high heat.
- Add a ladle of squash sauce, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed, then add another ladle. Continue stirring and adding a ladle of squash sauce and allowing liquid to absorb, until all the sauce is used up and the rice is al dente. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
- Serve risotto with crispy bacon and sage pieces, Parmesan cheese and microgreens.