Thursday 14 December 2017

Squash and crispy pancetta risotto

Squash and crispy pancetta risotto
Squash and crispy pancetta risotto

I absolutely love this recipe — it leaves you full, satisfied and warm. Risotto may seem a little tricky, but it’s just a case of giving it your full attention and slowly incorporating the liquid, so give it a go. If you can’t get your hands on pancetta slices, use smoked streaky bacon. Serves four.


850g/1lb 13oz butternut squash, peeled,

sliced in half and cut lengthways into


3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly sliced

A few fresh thyme sprigs

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tbsps olive oil

8 slices pancetta

1 litre/1¾ pints chicken stock

150g/5oz butter

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

300g/11oz risotto rice

75ml/3fl oz white wine

150g/5oz Parmesan, freshly grated


Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Place the squash on a roasting tray with the garlic, thyme, a good pinch of salt and black pepper and half the olive oil and toss together. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 50 minutes until the squash is soft.

Ten minutes before the squash is ready, remove the foil, lay the pancetta over the squash and continue to bake until the pancetta is crisp. When the pumpkin and pancetta are cooked, remove the tray from the oven, take the pancetta off the pumpkin and set both aside.

Pour the stock into a saucepan and simmer gently. Melt 75g/3oz of the butter and the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and gently fry for about 10 minutes until softened. Add the rice and stir until it is coated.

Pour in the white wine and let it bubble until nearly evaporated, then start adding the warm stock, about two ladlefuls at a time, allowing it to be absorbed before adding more. Continue to add the stock until the rice is tender and has a creamy coating. This should take about 15 minutes.

Add the remaining butter, roasted squash, roasted garlic and grated Parmesan cheese and gently stir though. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately with the crispy slices of pancetta on top.

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