|Butternut Squash and Bacon Risotto
1/2 butternut squash
1 tsp grapeseed oil (or other vegetable oil)
2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
4-5 cups mushroom stock from dried shiitake (chicken or vegetable would be fine too)
3 TBS butter, divided
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 fresh thyme sprigs (about 1 TBS fresh thyme)
1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
9 oz thick cut, double smoked bacon, cut into cubes
1/2 cup vermouth or dry white wine
1 TBS white truffle oil (optional)
1/4 cup Parmesan, finely grated
Brush squash half with one teaspoon of vegetable oil and roast in a 400°F oven for 45-60 minutes or until softened and cooked through.
Remove from oven and let stand. When cooled, peel and dice into large cubes. Set aside.
In a large bowl, fill with four to five cups of hot water.
Place in dried mushrooms and allow to steep for 30-45 minutes. When reconstituted, remove woody stems and dice but reserve the water for use as stock. Set aside.
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan or pot, heat one tablespoon of butter. Add in onion, garlic and thyme and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until vegetables begin to turn translucent.
Add mushrooms and rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 5-10 minutes.
Add mushroom stock one cup at a time, stirring between additions and allowing the stock to be completely soaked up by the rice before adding more.
Meanwhile, in a small heavy bottomed pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on paper or kitchen towels and set aside.
When last of stock is used up, add vermouth to risotto and allow to cook off a bit.
Stir in remaining butter, cubed squash and bacon. Sprinkle with Parmesan and stir in.
Serve with a drizzle of white truffle oil or more Parmesan for garnish. Yield: 6 servings. Prep Time: 30 minutes. Cooking Time: 45 minutes