Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon and Sage
Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a starter
1 qt. homemade or low-salt chicken broth; more as needed
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tbs. olive oil
10 large fresh sage leaves
4-6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thirds
3-4 medium shallots, minced
2 cups 1/4-inch-diced butternut squash
1-1/2 cups Arborio or other risotto rice, such as carnaroli or vialone nano
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the chicken broth and wine in a small saucepan and set over medium heat.
In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and fry, turning once, until they’ve turned dark green in most places, about 1 minute total. Don’t brown. With a fork, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
Put the bacon in the same skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until nicely browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
Add the shallots to the skillet and sauté, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened and translucent, about 1 minute. Add the squash and rice and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute until fragrant. Ladle in enough of the hot broth mixture to just cover the rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until the broth is mostly absorbed. Add another ladleful of broth and continue cooking, stirring, and adding more ladlefuls of broth as the previous additions are absorbed, until the rice is tender with just a slightly toothsome quality, about 25 minutes. As the risotto cooks, adjust the heat so that it bubbles gently. The broth mixture needn’t be boiling; it should just be hot. If you use all the broth and wine before the rice gets tender, use more broth but not more wine.
Crumble the bacon and the sage leaves into the risotto. Stir in the Parmigiano. Season to taste with salt and pepper.