Butternut Squash and Pancetta Risotto with Spiced Butter

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Spiced Butter:

4 cloves garlic, roasted

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon finely chopped chervil leaves

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped marjoram leaves

Pinch ground cinnamon

Pinch ground ginger

Butternut Squash:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound squash, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar


5 cups chicken stock, recipe follows

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 pound pancetta, small dice

1/2 cup minced shallots

1 cup arborio rice

2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup white wine

Chicken Stock:

5 pounds chicken bones, rinsed well

20 cups cold water

2 carrots, chopped

2 onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 stalk leek, cleaned, sliced into 2-inch pieces

3 sprigs fresh Italian parsley

1 sprig fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

3 cloves garlic, smashed


  1. For the butter: In a bowl, crush the roasted garlic with a spoon. Mix in the butter, chervil, marjoram, ground cinnamon, and ginger and set aside.
  2. For the butternut squash: In large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the squash and season with salt. Cook for 6 minutes until golden on all sides. Add brown sugar and cook until the squash is caramelized and tender, but not mushy. Set aside and keep warm.
  3. For the risotto: Bring chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan add the pancetta and saute until lightly browned. Add the shallots, stirring until softened.
  4. Pour in the arborio rice, sage and thyme cook for 4 minutes, stirring until well coated.
  5. Turn the heat to high and add the white wine, simmer until mostly absorbed.
  6. Add the hot stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until absorbed by the rice. Continue to add stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to release the starch. Check rice for doneness after 18 minutes, rice should be al dente but cooked through.
  7. Stir in Italian parsley, kosher salt, pepper, and 3 tablespoons of the spiced butter.
  8. Gently fold in the squash. Serve immediately.

Chicken Stock:

Yield: 16 cups
  1. Place the chicken bones in a stock pot and cover with the cold water. Bring to a boil, skimming the fat and foam from the surface of the stock.
  2. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leek, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, black peppercorns, and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 hours.
  3. Cool slightly and strain the stock into a container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.
  4. Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  5. Cooking Time: 2 hours