Making risotto can be a little tedious…all that stirring…but it’s so very worth it! It’s creamy goodness forms a wonderful base for any number of ingredients. I like to change the ingredients with the season and I always saute or roast them separately and then fold them into the risotto. This allows me to cook each ingredient to it’s perfection.
The other thing to keep in mind is to remove the risotto from the heat while it’s still a bit undercooked. The reason for this is that it will continue to cook for a while because it still contains the heat. So, turn off the heat, give it a few stirs and some more broth if needed and take all those ingredients and gently fold them in.
For this recipe, I used roasted butternut squash drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with salt; sautéed onions; sautéed brussel sprouts; crispy bacon and snippets of sun-dried tomatoes. But, you can use any number of fresh ingredients such as: mushrooms, spinach, kale, asparagus and so much more.
Ingredients (feeds 6 – 8)
1 lb bag (.45 of kilogram) of arborio rice
2 quarts (1.89 litres)
1 large onion – diced
1 lb bag of brussel sprouts – cut in thirds or in approximately 1/4 inch (6 mm) slices
1 lb butternut squash – peeled and cut in approximately 1/2 inch pieces
8 – 10 slices of bacon
2 – 3 mediums cloves of garlic – finely diced
5 – 6 slices of sun-dried tomatoes – cut into tiny dices
1/4 cup of olive oil – or enough to cover the bottom of the pan
Several sprigs of fresh flat leafed parsley – stems removed and roughly diced
Cook risotto according to package directions but start with oil on the bottom of the pan, add half the onions, cook until they begin to wilt and follow with half the garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and then quickly follow with the rice.
While cooking and stirring the risotto, add the squash to a parchment lined baking sheet and cook in a pre-heated 350 degree (176.6) oven for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. Do the same with the bacon.
For the brussel sprouts, place a large saute over medium heat; add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat until hot but not smoking. Add the remaining onion and cook until they begin to soften (about 2 minutes) add the remaining garlic and cook just until it begins to color (about 30 seconds). Add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes if you want a bit of heat, and follow with the brussel sprouts, stirring occasionally and cooking until cooked through (about 10 minutes) occasionally adding a few splashes of chicken broth if they begin to get too brown or stick to the bottom of the pan.
Fold in the squash, the brussel sprouts and bacon (including the bacon fat) into the risotto. Add the sun-dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and with parmesan cheese if desired. Garnish with the parsley.