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The creators of Arborio rice are brilliant—genius, really. Seriously. Humor me for a moment…

When you start making Risotto, what’s the first thing you typically do? Sauté onions in butter. Immediately, the kitchen smells like heaven and triggers hunger. Then what do you do? You pop open a bottle of white wine for the broth, which only requires that you use like one glass of it. Translation: one glass of wine for the risotto, 4 glasses of wine for me. And then, the grueling part—you stir. And stir. [And sip.] And stir. You’re literally standing there over the pot stirring for what seems like 7 years. And finally, after this agony of anticipation, you’ve got risotto. And, boy, does it taste good. And how couldn’t it? By the time you’re done, you’re hungry, tired, and drunk. Genius. Truly Genius. I tip my hat to you, Arborio rice manufacturers.

Whether attributed to the commitment involved in making in, the buzz from the wine, or the taunting aroma, risotto is my favorite food. It’s comfort food at its fancy little finest. And while it requires a bit of time, it’s not hard to make. This version is my ode to fall. Enjoy!

The Ingredients

Yields 6-8 cups of Risotto
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tbsp butter
1 ½ cups of Arborio rice
2 cups fresh chopped Kale, rinsed well (I add the chopped kale to a water bath and let the dirt fall to the bottom of the bowl)
½ cup of dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
3-4 cups of chicken stock, added ½ cup at a time
2 cups butternut squash, in 1 inch cubes
½ cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
6 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Olive Oil

The Directions

  1. Begin by melting 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Add chopped onion and let them sauté until translucent.

  2. Add the uncooked Arborio rice to your butter/onion mixture and stir. Let the rice toast for 3-5 minutes.

  3. Add the white wine and let simmer until the wine has been absorbed.

  4. In the meantime, place the cubed butternut squash on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil and salt. Roast at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. If your butternut squash is in larger cubes, this may take a little longer. You may also want to chop and wash your Kale at this point. When preparing the Kale, you’ll want to be sure you remove the thicker stems. See image below.

  5. Add ½ cup of your chicken stock to the pot and stir rapidly until the stock is absorbed. This may take a few minutes. Once absorbed, add another ½ cup of stock. You’ll want to continue this pattern, stirring as much as possible and adding stock slowly so that the rice is fully cooked. The stirring will release the starches in the rice, making your risotto extra creamy.

  6. Add the roasted butternut squash and the kale to your pot and stir to combine.

  7. Add the last tbsp of butter and the parmesan cheese and mix together to complete.

  8. Top with crisp pieces of bacon.