Butternut Squash Risotto with Shrimp
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- 3 ounces pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped
- 1 pound large uncooked deveined peeled shrimp
- 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 3/4 cups)
- 1 cup short-grain rice (such as arborio or carnaroli)
- 4 cups vegetable broth, heated in microwave
- 1 1-pound package peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
Sauté pancetta in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat until fat renders and pancetta is browned and almost crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to medium bowl. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper; add to saucepan. Sauté until browned and just opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Add to bowl with pancetta. Add oil to same saucepan, then onion and garlic; cook until onion is translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add hot broth; increase heat and bring to boil. Add squash and sage; reduce heat to medium and simmer until rice is tender but still firm to bite and mixture is creamy, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Stir in cream, shrimp, and pancetta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to large shallow bowl.
Nutritional ContentOne serving contains the following: Calories (kcal) 358.9 %Calories from Fat 32.6 Fat (g) 13.0 Saturated Fat (g) 4.9 Cholesterol (mg) 176.6 Carbohydrates (g) 36.0 Dietary Fiber (g) 3.1 Total Sugars (g) 5.2 Net Carbs (g) 32.9 Protein (g) 24.2Reviews Section
Risotto with Shrimp, Butternut Squash and Sage
The key to the multi-layered flavor of this dish is using one ingredient in two ways. Ben Pollinger, Executive Chef of New York City's Oceana Restaurant, sautées one half of a butternut squash and purées the other. The result is a super creamy risotto with delicious and complex flavors.
Butternut Squash Risotto
A lot of butternut squash risotto recipes call for roasting the squash first. Not this one. Here, everything cooks in the same pot, which means the butternut squash kind of becomes the sauce too. The results are insane.
Here are the top 3 things to remember when making risotto.
1. Use hot stock.
When cooking risotto, you need to add the stock gradually. Keeping the stock warm prevents the temperature from dropping each time you add it to the arborio rice. It also means that the rice will absorb the stock more quickly, which will lead to a better (read: creamier) texture.
2. Never stop stirring.
Some see this as therapeutic, other annoying AF. There's just no way around it. Arborio rice&mdashthe kind generally used in risotto&mdash is extra starchy, which means it's more likely to stick (and burn). Stirring constantly is how you avoid this.
3. Use good cheese.
Think of this a little like a fancy mac 'n cheese. The Parmesan, or whatever whey you decide to go (sorry!), is a prominent component&mdashnot just a garnish. Pre-grated stuff is just salty and dry freshly grated parm is nutty and peppery. It'll also melt better into the sauce.
Have you made this recipe? Let us know how you liked it in the comments below.
Editor's Note: This recipe was updated slightly on August 31, 2020.
Butternut Squash Risotto with Shrimp and Pancetta
It’s good to have Sundays in Santa Barbara when the sun is out and the breeze plays across the waves and you sit in your backyard and enjoy a lovely early dinner risotto with shrimp. Sundays are full of hustle and bustle with many tourists descending upon the town with cameras and bicycles, overjoyed with all the activity Santa Barbara has to offer.
Those merry days are meant for strolling at the harbor, surfing and sailing in the ocean, jogging on the beach sand, having brunch downtown, and contemplating what to make for a relaxing dinner. It truly feels like the Riviera in Italy or France on those days and that’s why it is called the American Riviera. We wanted something with seafood, but a little more hearty to replenish from a day outdoors. How about a Butternut Squash Risotto with Shrimp and Pancetta ?
The day was just gloriously fun and we each had different plans. Judit jogged on West Beach and that made her quite hungry from the smells wafting form restaurants nearby. She picked up fresh shrimp at the local seafood store in the harbor and pancetta from Gelson’s market. Corina joined a regatta and sailed along the coast of scenic Santa Barbara. After the regatta she stopped at Lazy Acres for rice and a few more ingredients. We can’t forget the wine! An ample dose of Chardonnay takes the risotto to a new level of wine country goodness. We picked up a Santa Barbara Winery Reserve Chardonnay to have with this delicious rice dish.
Squash is available all year around here, with the best time for it being summer and autumn and it tastiest heavily when you drizzle some butter and brown sugar on squash slices and place a few sage leaves on them. Butternut squash is actually considered a winter variety, but we can find it throughout much of the year at our local produce market.
Similar in taste to pumpkins, Butternut squash has a nutty flavor and just gets sweeter as it ripens. We love add squash to the rice while cooking it since it sweetens up the risotto and makes the creamy texture even richer.
Can you believe we had to interrupt our dinner to watch the amber light dashing across the pastel blue sky. We are so thankful to experience such a view with our glass of Chardonnay and the risotto waiting patiently on the table. On days like this we want to pinch ourselves for living in paradise.
“…The sand on the bottom is whiter than chalk,
The air is heady, like wine,
And the rosy body of the pines
Is naked in the sunset hour.
And the sunset itself on such waves of ether
That I just can’t comprehend
Whether it is the end of the day, the end of the world,
Or the mystery of mysteries in me again.”
– from Anna Akhmatova, The Complete Poems
We truly enjoy cooking with local Chardonnay, lucky for us we have a lot to choose from. With buttery flavors and hints of citrus, it is like the California sun in a glass. This versatile wine pairs well with the nutty flavors of the butter nut squash and the saltiness of the pancetta and the shrimp. We chose a Santa Barbara Winery Reserve Chardonnay with it’s citrus notes, crisp clean flavors, and balanced minerality to cook with and also to drink with the risotto.
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Butternut Squash and Saffron Risotto with Shrimp
Risotto is one of those dishes that seemed far beyond my reach when I first started teaching myself to cook. After much thought and recipe reading, I rolled up my sleeves and gave it a go. To my pleasant surprise it was actually a very simple and relaxing encounter! Risotto, like many other recipes, takes patience. It insists that you keep a close eye on the pot, stirring frequently and testing the texture of the rice as you go. It responds well to most flavor enhancers and arborio rice quickly found a place on my pantry standards list. I look in our vegetable drawer and go from there, allowing convenience and experimentation with this classic, elegant dish.
Toss the butternut squash with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Stick in the oven for 30 minutes, tossing once, midway.
To begin any risotto you will need butter, olive oil, onion or shallot, and garlic. I diced one half of an onion and two cloves garlic. Some recipes call for shallots instead of onions. I always have an onion in my pantry so that is typically what I reach for, but shallots will provide a softer onion flavor and are a lovely addition. While you are prepping the ingredients and getting the risotto started, put four cups of chicken stock in a sauce pan to warm.
Heat one tbs. olive oil and one tbs. butter in a pan on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until opaque, about five minutes. Turn the heat down a bit if you need to – you don’t want the garlic to burn.
Next, add the arborio rice – one cup. Mix the rice with the onions and garlic and let toast lightly. It helps bring out the flavor of the rice itself. Do this for about three minutes.
Now add a half of a cup of white wine (you can skip straight to the stock if you prefer). Stir and allow the rice to absorb the wine. At this point I also added a pinch of saffron. My Mom brought it back for me from Istanbul and I thought it would pair nicely with the butternut squash. Stir the wine into the risotto until it has reduced by half. This should take about three minutes.
The rest is quite simple – add warm stock to the rice and cook on medium-low, stirring frequently, as the rice slowly soaks up the liquid and becomes tender. I add two ladle-fulls at a time and repeat when most of the stock has been absorbed and the mixture looks like the photo below. This can take anywhere from six to eight minutes and you will go through three to three and a half cups of stock
Once the rice is tender and al dente (has a slight bight to it – not mushy) add the butternut squash and a tbs of butter. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
While the butter in the risotto is melting heat some butter, olive oil and two cloves of garlic cut in half in a small saute pan on medium-high heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the shrimp and add them to the pan, cooking for one minute on each side until pink. They really don’t need long at all and are very easy to overcook. The garlic in the pan will infuse the oil and the shrimp giving it a nice undertone of garlic without overpowering the delicate shrimp.
Finish the risotto with a generous grating of parmesan cheese (one half of a cup to three quarters of a cup) and a handful of chopped parsley. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Plate, topping with the warm shrimp. Then take a moment to sit back and be impressed with yourself – you just made risotto!
The Secrets to Making Amazing Risotto
Risotto is a very hands-on dish. I say this because the key to getting that creamy consistency is stirring.
Basically, you have to add broth to the rice, stirring constantly but not excessively, until each cup of liquid is absorbed. Here’s how it goes: you add broth to the rice, 1 cup at a time, stirring until each cup of liquid is absorbed…repeating about 6 times (for 2 cups of rice) until the rice is cooked through, tender, and creamy.
No need to add any milk at all! It doesn’t need any milk or cream for creaminess. Just stirring will do it…really!
Here are some tips for making amazing risotto:
- Don’t rinse the rice: To keep the rice sticky and creamy, you need starch. Washing the rice washes away the starch.
- Use the right type of rice: I use arborio rice.
- Stir often: Stirring often creates that creamy texture and encourages the release of starch.
- But don’t over-stir! Stirring too vigorously or too frequently will actually turn it a bit too gluey. You need to stir often to help the starch release and to prevent the bottom from sticking, but don’t overdo it.
- Don’t overcook it: Cook until al dente or until desired consistency. Don’t let it turn mushy.
Butternut Squash Pasta With Shrimp
Warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butternut squash, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Saute until the squash is golden and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the squash is very soft, another 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the squash mixture to a blender or food processor and puree.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
Meanwhile, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the prawns with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Add the prawns to the pan and cook until just pink, about 3 minutes.
In a large pot over low heat combine the cooked pasta, pureed squash mixture, and 3/4 cup milk. Stir to combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk if the sauce needs to be moistened. Add the cooked prawns, basil, and cheese. Stir until warm and serve.
Butternut Squash Risotto
Posted By Savita
Sharing today, creamy, garlicky homemade butternut squash risotto for Italian restaurant-quality meatless dinner in comfort of your own home!
Fall season may be a month away but I can see everyone going crazy for pumpkin and squash recipes. So, I decided to give you another reason to grab some butternut squash from Farmer's Market today.
I'm so excited to share this recipe. You know, how risotto is treated as pricey Italian restaurant dish which you can never get right at home. I wanted to take that intimidation out of cooking risotto at home. Risotto is just like cooking any other rice. Only major difference is: to get that signature creamy risotto texture, it needs your attention rather than add to a pot and let it cook itself.
So, if you never tried cooking risotto at home, this recipe is perfect place to start. I promise!
And if you are risotto expert! Then I highly recommend trying this garlicky parmesan and sweet butternut squash risotto. In one sentence, this squash risotto is perfect way to get ready to welcome fall season!
What is risotto all about?
When I cooked risotto first time, I did some research to understand what's the deal. Why everyone think risotto is so hard to cook. So, based on my research, and a few authentic risottos I had in Italian eateries over the years. Here is what you all need to know.:
1. Risotto is one pan creamy rice. Mostly rice used are Italian arborio rice or thick grain starchy rice which make risotto creamy.
2. Instead of plain water, risotto gets flavor from fortified liquid such as chicken stock, shrimp stock or vegetable stock.
3. Like I mentioned earlier, risotto needs 15-18 minutes of your time to cook perfectly creamy. Stock is added. say 1/3 cup at a time to let rice absorb liquid and release it's starch as it cooks. Idea is to not let rice go dry at any time. If rice are left on it's own, these will soak up all liquid and creamy texture will be lost.
So, to make this risotto. I start by sauteing aromatics.. Like onion, garlic and some spices for this squash risotto, then I add the diced squash and let it cook for sometime so that squash is slightly tender before rice are added.
Speaking of squash, If you don't like to peel and slice a fresh squash. most grocery stores carry pre-diced butternut squash in fresh produce refrigerator section. Also, frozen squash is available all year round which cooks quicker than fresh butternut squash. Since it's almost squash season, you can even roast the whole squash and then peel skin off the tender cooked squash.
Please note, a pre-cooked squash like roasted squash is best folded in last 5 minutes of cooking risotto or it will get very mushy and loose it's texture.
Now, let's discuss dietary information.
This risotto recipe is vegetarian, gluten free, and also packed potassium and folates from butternut squash. I added some butter and parmesan to it. Even though Parmesan really enhance the flavor of sweet butternut squash.. You can easily make it vegan by using vegan substitutes or skipping these two ingredients.
Using seasonal fruits and veggies in main course meals bring us close to nature and gives opportunity to eat healthier and fresh. Like this Butternut Squash risotto is great way to welcome fall and enjoy some seasonal squash with family.
What are you favorite ways to cook squash for dinner? Leave a comment below and let me know.