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Butternut squash risotto with pancetta and chanterelles

Chef, Lenny Redé
Wine Pairings:   Chardonnay

White Blend

A Willamette Valley Chardonnay will complement the salty, cheesy, and slightly sweet flavors of this dish

 

Savvy match: This butternut squash risotto is a salty, cheesy, and slightly sweet dish. With flavors of crisp tart apples, vanilla, and pineapple, Chardonnay will build on and nicely complement this and even out the fattiness from that crispy pancetta.

A simple dish of butternut squash risotto topped with Grana Padano is about as Italian as you can get. A soul-warming simple yet classy dish, risotto comes from Northern Italy, Lombardi, home to Milan, Lago di Como, the Alps, and George Clooney. This butternut squash risotto is a great dish to have in your back pocket, whether as an elegant Primi Piatti, first course, or as a side, contorni, with a simple braised dish. A good risotto utilizes simple, fresh ingredients, and while simple to make in concept, it takes time and careful attention to detail to get the desired result.

You might say the same thing regarding an artfully crafted Willamette Valley Chardonnay. This white wine juggernaut is beloved, rightfully so, due to its overwhelming complexity and structure. Chardonnay is one of the few white wines that can hold against any full-bodied red wine when considering the depth of flavor, body structure, and earthiness. Chardonnay can be clean and crisp, or luxurious, creamy and buttery depending on whether or not it was aged in oak barrels. Most California and Pacific Northwest Chardonnay’s are barrel-aged, giving the wine its traditional buttery texture.

Ingredients

  • ¼ pound pancetta, thinly sliced cut into-inch strips
  • 1 pound chanterelle mushrooms 
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sage leaves
  • Sea salt
  • Ground white pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup dry white wine (dry Riesling)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2-pound butternut squash—peeled, seeded, and cut into small dice
  • 2 cups arborio rice (16 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • Pinch nutmeg, freshly grated

Steps

1.

In a large pan sweat pancetta over medium heat until crispy. Remove pancetta from the pan to a bowl.

2.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, add chanterelle mushrooms and sauté until wilted, add sage and season. Remove to the bowl with the pancetta.

3.

Combine stock water and wine in a saucepan and heat. Keep warm.

4.

Add remaining olive oil. Add the squash and onion and cook over moderate heat for 2 minutes to brown.

5.

Add arborio rice and stir to coat.

6.

Add ½ cup hot stock and stir constantly until absorbed.

7.

Continue adding the stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, and stirring constantly until it is nearly absorbed before adding more. This will take about 30 minutes.

8.

The risotto is done when the rice is al dente - just firm to the tooth. Add nutmeg and adjust seasoning if necessary. Stir in the butter.

9.

Garnish with pancetta, and chanterelles.

10.

Top with freshly grated Grana Padano.

11.

Serve with extra Grana Padano on the side and a nice dry Riesling.

Chef Image

About Chef, Lenny Redé

Restaurateur, Chef, Wine Steward, and Educator

Leonard Redé brings a unique blend of culinary and wine expertise to everything he does. An award-winning Pastry Chef, his desserts have graced the tables of Presidential State Dinners for Bill Clinton, he has presented High Tea to the late Princess Diana and created gilded birthday cakes for the Sultan of Brunei. He was nominated for educator of the year when he was a Chef Instructor at the world renowned Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. He loves to share his passion for all things gastronomic and he’ll gladly help you navigate the world of wine and is always quick with a wine pairing or recipe.