Sunday, March 14, 2010

Daring Cooks' Challenge March 2010: Risotto

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf. 

This was my first Daring Cooks' Challenge and first time making risotto. I was pretty nervous about this recipe, but also very excited. The challenge also required the Daring Cooks to make homemade chicken stock which I've never had the pleasure of making until now (I may never buy canned stock again). I decided to make a butternut squash and pancetta risotto and found the delicious recipe below at The chicken stock was very easy to make, but a little time consuming and the risotto was absolutely wonderful, I cant wait to make it again. I want to thank Gabi for helping me in the kitchen and Mari for watching JD while we cooked. This was a great challenge and I'm looking forward to the next one, I hope you are too!

Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Pancetta
Recipe by Mary Ellen Carroll and Donna Wingate 

  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch strips 
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • One 1 1/2-pound butternut squash—peeled, halved, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-by-1/4-inch sticks
  • 8 sage leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth (homemade recipe below)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 1/2 cups arborio rice (19 ounces)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large skillet, cook the pancetta over moderate heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the fat in the skillet. Add the squash and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the sage, season with salt and pepper and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute longer. Transfer the squash to the bowl with the pancetta.

In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.

In a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of the hot stock and cook, stirring, until absorbed. Continue adding the stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, and stirring constantly until it is nearly absorbed before adding more. The risotto is done when the rice is just tender and the liquid is creamy, about 20 minutes.

Stir the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the 1/2 cup of Parmesan into the risotto. Gently fold in the squash and pancetta. Spoon the risotto into warmed bowls and serve.

Homemade Chicken Stock

  • 1 large chicken 2-3 pounds 
  • 2 onions, roughly diced
  • 1 medium leek - white part only, roughly diced
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp. white peppercorns ( Any type of whole peppercorn will do)
  • 2 bay leaves (fresh or dried, it doesn't matter.)
  • peel of 1/2 lemon 
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
Wash the chicken and bones and places in a 5 Litre pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil. Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface.

Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil. Add the rest remaining ingredients and simmer very gently, uncovered for 1.5 hours.

Carefully lift out the chicken, set aside. The chicken meat can be removed from the chicken, shredded off and used for other things like soup.

Simmer the stock gently for another hour. At the end you should have around 2 Liters. Carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less the bones and vegetables are disturbed in this process the clearer the stock will be. 
The stock is now ready for use. Freeze what you don't need for later use.


Izzy said...

you did it!!! looks really good! can't wait to see your next daring cooks' challenge... thanks for the stock recipe... =)

Izzy said...

okay adri, i have a request,i need to know how to make your mom's yummmmiee rice... please,please she needs to give the special recipe.... i talk about her rice so much i want!!!

Adriana said...

Thanks chica, the funny thing is I still haven't mastered her rice! I should have her come and show us all how to make it, like a Dominican cooking class or something! LOL

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your first DC challenge and your first risotto. Good job!

shelley c. said...

Congratulations on your first challenge - really well done! And your son is adorable. :)

Audax said...

Congrats on your 1st challenge and hello and welcome to the Daring Cooks' I hope you have many other happy experiences with us.

I'm so glad you got over your nerves and did a wonderful job on this challenge and the final risotto is fabulous I just love the colours. Well done on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Veronica said...

Congrats Adri! It looks really yummy!!

Anonymous said...

Congrats! You did a great job, your risotto looks very tasty!

Margaret Lee
San Francisco, CA

Adriana said...

Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments, this was such a great experience and your comments made it all the better!

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