So much has happened this summer, my dear imaginary friends. I took a little break from posting to work on my show for the MN Fringe Festival, and I ended up taking a bigger break…from having a job. I was laid off from my job at Search Institute just over a month ago.
My mini summer vacation from blogging has left me with a sizable backlog of delightful – and sometimes schmancy – recipes. Once I’ve shared them all with you, I’ll likely turn my culinary focus to cooking on an unemployed lady’s budget. After I run out of surplus recipes, and until I find a new job, you can expect to find an expanding collection of recessipes here in the galley kitchen.
In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite risotto recipes. This was the main course of Handsome Greg’s birthday dinner, back in January. The recipe makes a ton, so I had leftovers for days. The fresh sage intensified in the fridge, to the extent that I mostly picked out the leaves when I reheated it. But fresh off the stove, it balanced the sweet squash and salty pork rather gently.
Continue reading for the Acorn Squash Risotto recipe
- 1½-pound acorn squash
- 3 slices pancetta, cut in 1″ sticks
- 1 pound spicy Italian sausage
- 5 – 6 cups chicken broth, hot
- ½ cup white wine, warm
- 1 cup leeks, white and pale green parts only, washed and finely chopped
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Wash the squash, prick it all over with a fork, and bake at 350 for about 1½ hours. Squeeze the squash to test for doneness. When it yields to gentle pressure, it’s done.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool. Peel the squash, scoop out seeds and pulp, and cut up in ¾” chunks (which should be falling apart as you work). [Note: this can be done a day or two ahead. Refrigerate squash until needed.]
- Sauté the pancetta over medium heat until it’s fairly well browned and crisp at the edges. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon to a paper towel. Drain off the fat and reserve.
- Brown the sausage in the same pan, remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Add the fat to the reserved pancetta drippings.
- Heat the reserved fat in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and sauté gently about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are translucent. Remove the leeks to a plate using a slotted spoon.
- Add the rice to the same pan and sauté for 7-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the rice turns milky white. Return the leeks to pan and add ½ cup of room temperature white wine, stirring until most of the wine has evaporated.
- Add a ladleful of stock and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. Continue adding the stock a ladle at a time, waiting until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy.
- After about 20 minutes, start tasting the rice for doneness. When the rice is cooked, add the butter and cheese, and stir briskly for about 30 seconds. Carefully add the squash, pancetta, sausage, and sage. Season to taste.