Cornish Game Hen and Butternut Squash Risotto


I’m a sucker for a good risotto, but don’t have much experience making them. I saw a bunch of bloggers making this recipe a few weeks ago, and the final dish looked so delicious that I just knew I had to try it using some of the squash I grew in our garden this year.

I love working with butternut squash – I think it has the best flavor of the conventional winter squashes, and to me is the easiest to cut through and work with. What makes this recipe extra special, though – is the amount of saffron in it – 1 whole teaspoon! Talk about an expensive risotto! I’ve found that I can cut the amount of saffron in half and still get a nice color and flavor.

I served with Cornish game hen ($2.29 each at Aldi – woot!) halves brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with Canadian Chicken Seasoning (I got it at GFS). Perfection on a plate – I’ve made some sort of variation of this three times in the last week alone. I’m submitting this recipe to be part of the Grow Your Own event over at Andrea’s Recipes.

Cornish Game Hen and Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto
recipe courtesy Ina Garten

1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.

In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan. Mix well and serve.

4 thoughts on “Cornish Game Hen and Butternut Squash Risotto

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