This versatile dish matches well with Syrah or Sauvignon Blanc, and this recipe makes 6 main course servings.
BUTTERNUT & BACON RISOTTO
* 3 thick slices applewood smoked bacon, cut into matchstick-size strips
* 1 large sweet onion, diced
* 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
* 1 teaspoon minced ginger root
* 5 cups chicken broth
* 1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 2 cups Arborio rice
* 1/2 cup finely grated aged Parmesan cheese
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1. Place bacon in a Dutch oven; cook until fat is rendered and strips are crisp, about 7 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Add onion and squash to the bacon fat. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 minute.
2. Meanwhile, heat broth, wine, salt and pepper in a saucepan to a simmer. Stir rice into squash mixture. Cook, stirring, over medium heat to coat the grains of rice with the fat, about 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups of broth mixture and cook over medium-high heat until broth comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 8 minutes. Add another half-cup of broth. Simmer gently, stirring until it is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Continue simmering and adding broth, a half-cup at a time, until the rice is tender but not hard in the interior, about 12-15 minutes.
3. Stir in the cheese and chives. Serve in wide bowls, and sprinkle each serving with the bacon and more cheese, if desired.