Remember this? We’ve finally decided what to do with the butternut squash from this picture.
Ina Garten’s Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash from the “Barefoot Contessa Family Style” cookbook. Sounds good doesn’t it? We’ve never prepared risotto before so it is very exciting. Since we are fairly new to cooking we were surprised to learn that saffron is the most expensive spice on earth. Do you know that an ounce of saffron can go as high as $95 buckaroos? Yeah, I was like whoa! I refuse to pay $18 for a tiny little jar of saffron. And we’re talking “tiny.” I held this little spice jar in disbelief bringing it up to the light while shaking it, I couldn’t even see how many threads I’m getting because the precious commodity was inside a sealed packet. The label said .06 oz. No way! At first, we debated on whether we should even include saffron to the risotto. Knowing the Barefoot Contessa, I’m sure her risotto would be just as good without it. Luckily, at Wegman’s they sell little packets with maybe 10 threads or so for about $5 bucks. So I thought, okay, I guess maybe it is doable. I heard the flavor of saffron is really intense and that a little goes a long long way. Funny how I never paid attention before.
Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash
From Ina Garten’s A Barefoot Contessa Family Style
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, 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 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, melt the butter and saute the pancetta 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.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © Ina Garten’s A Barefoot Contessa Family Style
For protein, we thought we’d pair the risotto with grilled pork loin chops.
Grilled Lemon Herb Pork Chops
Submitted by: DOREENBUCH from Allrecipes.com
Yields: 6 servings
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 (4 ounce) boneless pork loin chops
1. In a large resealable bag, combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, oregano, and pepper. Place chops in bag, seal, and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Turn bag frequently to distribute marinade.
2. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. Remove chops from bag, and transfer remaining marinade to a saucepan. Bring marinade to a boil, remove from heat, and set aside.
3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill pork chops for 5 to 7 minutes per side, basting frequently with boiled marinade, until done.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2008 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 11/5/2008
I love warm, gooey, creamy comfort foods. The texture and sweetness of the squash combined with the crispy saltiness of the pancetta and the creamy risotto sure balance each other well. The cheese and wine gave it a lot of flavor. And the saffron? Well, I now believe the saffron made this dish. It probably would not have tasted this good had we opted to omit this very important ingredient. It brought all the flavors together and gave it the nice yellow color saffron is well known for.
Risotto reminds me of arroz caldo in the Philippines. Arroz caldo literally translates to “rice soup” although it is thick like risotto. My mom usually makes this dish on Christmas Eve or when someone is sick with a cold :). It is a much simpler recipe made with very few ingredients such as chicken, short grain rice, garlic, ginger, and chicken stock. Some recipes call for saffron too. A total comfort food. Anyhow, the risotto paired well with the grilled pork loin chop. Yummo!
Pardon me, we should go workout now. I think we both gained another 10 lbs. :)
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