Sunday, October 16, 2011

Butternut Squash Risotto with Pancetta, Tarragon, and Monterey Jack

Monterey jack cheese in risotto? What? I sounds weird, but this recipe is great! We've made it quite a few times. This risotto recipe is great because there isn't constant stiring. While it is cooking away in the oven, you can drink wine and watch jeopardy. Enjoy - I certainly did!

Original Inspiration: Cooking Light
Serving Size: 4 (about 3/4 cup)
WW: 9 pointsplus (for a dish with bacon & cheese - not bad!)


1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups) Cooking spray
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/3 cups water
2 tablespoons red wine (the recipe calls for madeira or marsala wine - I've always just used whatever red I have on hand)
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
4 ounces chopped pancetta (i always buy this at Trader Joe's, pre-chopped and around $2.50)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
2/3 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Fresh tarragon sprigs (optional)


Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Put the squash on a cookie sheet covered in cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes, flip the squash, and then bake for 10 more minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Combine broth, water, wine, and tarragon in a saucepan; bring to a simmer. Keep warm over low heat.

Cook pancetta in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove pancetta from pan; drain on a paper towel. Discard pan drippings. Add onion and oil to pan; sauté 10 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add rice to pan; sauté 1 minute.

Stir in broth mixture; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, and simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes. (Do not stir; rice will have a liquid consistency similar to stew.)
Place pan in oven; bake at 325° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Stir in the squash, pancetta, cheese, salt, and pepper.

Cover with a clean cloth; let stand 10 minutes (rice will continue to cook). Sprinkle with pine nuts. Garnish with tarragon sprigs, if desired.

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