Easy Bacon Butternut Squash Risotto.
Are we really here right now?!
I think we are. Let’s eat bacon butternut risotto and maybe take a bowl to all those friends we unfriended (or at least muted?) on social media until the election was over.
It’s insane how different our world is today. I remember having to BEG my mom to tell me who she voted for when I was a kid, and most times she wouldn’t even end up telling me. And I had absolutely no idea who she did vote for, or what it meant back then, but just the simple fact that she wouldn’t tell me? I mean, that was reason enough that I couldn’t handle NOT knowing. I would harass her endlessly.
I assume she didn’t tell me because I probably would have ran my 8-year-old mouth to someone while in the grocery store or I’d just randomly scream MOM WHY DID YOU VOTE FOR ROSS PEROT while we were shopping in Limited Too, but the thing was that she didn’t tell anyone. Not ANYONE.
I’m sure my dad knew, but she didn’t discuss it with my aunt or my grandma or anyone. No one discussed it in such a weird taboo way! And now… well I know who my third grade best friend’s boyfriend’s sister’s mother-in-law voted for yesterday thanks to social media.
What a crazy world we live in. This is nuts.
Thank goodness we can go back to watching Matthew McConaughey looking all hot even while he talks to himself and drives down a deserted highway on commercial breaks from This Is Us. (OMG. This Is Us. Are you watching? Dying over it. And this never happens this early.)
So, risotto? Peace offering risotto?
This bowl has everything I want to eat on a chilly fall night. Soft, bacon-toasted, wine soaked rice with caramely butternut squash cubes, crispy bacon, fresh sage and parmesan out the wazoo.
It’s the most perfect friendsgiving side dish OR just a side dish for your dinner tonight. It’s even more perfect as a full meal and pair it with a little spring greens salad and I’m good to go. I mean, great to go.
I feel like this is such a classic, simple meal, but I couldn’t go without sharing because the flavors are so spot on. Isn’t it funny how sometimes a simple dish sounds SO delicious, but you didn’t even THINK about it until someone mentions it? That happens to me all the time.
Thanks to instagram, I constantly see things like new little toppings for avocado toast or a certain way to cook chicken and I’m all WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN DOING THAT before immediately grabbing exactly what I need and making said recipe.
So while this risotto is pretty fantastic… what I did with the leftovers is even more fantastic. You’ll see that soon enough but let’s just say it involved LOTS of cheese (shocking) and a dipping sauce. Mmmm.
Don’t spoil the secret!
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups butternut squash cubes
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 to 5 cups low-sodium chicken or veggie stock, warmed
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- fresh sage for topping
- fresh parmesan shavings for topping
- Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the bacon. Cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy. Once crispy, remove it with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess grease.
- Remove about 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the skillet and reserve it for the risotto. Add the butternut squash cubes to the skillet with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and the nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is just fork tender (you don’t want it to be mushy!).
- Heat a saucepan or pot over medium-low heat and add the reserved bacon grease. Add the arborio rice and stir. Toast the rice until the pieces are translucent and fragrant. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the white wine, constantly stirring or at least stirring every minute or so, until the rice absorbs the wine. Once the wine is absorbed, add in 1 1/2 cups of the stock, stirring until the rice absorbs the liquid like it did with the wine. Repeat this 2 to 3 more times, until all stock has been added and the rice is al dente. You want it to appear “hydrated” – and want there to be some liquid left when serving. This process should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Once the rice is cooked, stir in the butternut squash cubes, parmesan cheese and almost all over the bacon, leaving some for the topping. Top with a bunch of fresh sage (you can stir some in if you want, it will get incorporated once you serve the risotto) and parmesan shavings. Serve immediately.
That color and flavor. WHOA.