Sunday 18 February 2018

Squash and crispy pancetta risotto


Donal Skehan

Serves four.

You will need

850g/1lb 13oz butternut squash, peeled, sliced in half and cut lengthways into slices

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 of 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 cheese, grated


Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Place the squash slices on a roasting tray with the garlic, thyme, a good pinch of salt and black pepper and half the olive oil, then 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.

Heat 75g/3oz of the butter and the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and fry over a low-medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the rice and stir until it is coated in the butter and oil.

Pour in the white wine, bring to the boil 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, the roasted squash and garlic, and the grated Parmesan and gently stir though. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately with the slices of pancetta on top.

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