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squash risotto (with bacon)

In dinner on December 22, 2011 at 11:33 pm

many moons ago in new york, when he and i had just started dating and i was depressed and not eating (not because he and i had just started dating, of course), he would make valiant efforts to feed me. one dish he plied me with was a blue cheese and squash risotto at some quaint little restaurant on the upper west side. for some reason, that dish has always stuck in my head.

well, actually, two things about that dish have always stuck in my head. 1) it was a cold, dark, possibly snowy night, and risotto with squash was the best idea ever. 2) the blue cheese in it was awful.

i’ve made risotto on the blog before, so i won’t bore you with that part. but i did change it up a little:

first, i roasted up a small-cut butternut squash tossed in olive oil, garlic powder, rosemary, salt and pepper. (400 degrees until really soft)

i also started by frying three strips of bacon (the maple kind?!) and using the fat to cook the onions.

i was planning to crumble the bacon over the top of the finished risotto, but then i decided it would be better to stir it in at the last minute so it had time to melt in a little.

you could obviously leave it out, though, and do your onions in butter and/or olive oil.

finally, you are traditionally supposed to use chicken stock in risotto, but i didn’t have any. instead, i used five beef stock cubes and made up the rest with water.

that added a nice depth of flavor without being overpowering.

cook the rice, then add the squash.

all in all, four and three quarters stars out of five. really great.

when i first tasted the cooked rice, i was concerned that it didn’t have enough flavor, but after stirring in the squash and bacon and letting it all oomph together for a couple minutes on low heat, the dish really sparkled.

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