This is my ode to Britain expressed in risotto form. BBC in this case doesn’t stand for British Broadcasting Corporation, but butternut squash and blue cheese risotto. Since my love for blue cheese has turned into an infatuation, this version of risotto has become my new favorite. Be sure to get good, strong blue cheese, preferably Stilton, however Gorganzola or Roquefort would be great. Everything is better with a bit of blue cheese and adding a pinch of pork in the form of bacon crumbly bits never hurt anything.
- 9 cups of Chicken Stock, low sodium
- 12 slices of Bacon, diced
- 1 large Onion, diced
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 2 cups Arborio Rice
- 8-10 ounces Blue Cheese, crumbled
- 1 lb Frozen Butternut Squash, cubed
- Salt & Pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, heat the chicken broth on medium heat. Once the liquid is hot, keep it warm over low heat. Saute the bacon pieces on medium low heat in a large skillet until they are crispy to your liking. Remove the bacon from the pan, let it drain on a paper towel and set aside (keeping grease in the pan).
Put the onion and squash into the skillet and saute for 5-7 minutes over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Adjust the heat to medium and add the rice and garlic to the skillet. Stir frequently (with a wooden spoon) as to not burn the rice and garlic. When the rice is starting to brown, about 3-5 minutes, using a ladle, add 1 cup of warm broth to the skillet. Stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time, and continue to stir frequently. Cover the risotto for approximately 1-2 minutes between each addition of liquid and make sure the rice absorbs the broth each time before adding more.
Most recipes say to keep the rice uncovered while cooking, however I have found that if you stir the rice and then cover for a minute or two in between, it cooks the rice more evenly. While the rice is absorbing the broth, the squash should begin to get tender and fall apart. If there are still large chunks of squash towards the end, break them apart using your spoon.
The risotto should be al dente and creamy, not mushy. Every type and brand of rice will take a different amount of stock. Once it seems like the rice is not taking as much liquid, it may be close to done. Taste the rice and check the texture. Right before the rice is done, crumble the blue cheese in your hand and stir it into the risotto. Let it cook for 1-2 more minutes, or until the blue cheese is melted and incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the bacon crumbly bits on top of the risotto before serving.