Something different to make with Butternut Squash! A delicious and satisfying meal that's perfect for a fall dinner!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Carefully remove the skin of the squash using a vegetable peeler or a small paring knife. Slice the squash in half, remove the seeds and chop into one-inch pieces. This is a little tedious so take your time. Place the chopped squash on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper. Toss together with your hands to combine. Place in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
In the meantime, heat up a 12-inch skillet over medium-low temperature. Add the pancetta and cook until the meat is browned. Remove the pancetta and place on a paper towel to drain. Do not remove the rendered fat.
Add the butter to the rendered fat. Add the shallots and garlic. Saute for about 3 minutes and add the rice. Cook the rice until there is a prominent "white dot" in the center. You will want to stir constantly for about 1 minute for this to happen.
Add the bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir in the wine and cook until it evaporates, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan.
Add about 1/2- 3/4 cup of the chicken stock to the rice and cook until it evaporates. Stirring constantly. Keep adding the chicken stock until you are on the last half cup or so of stock. You need to make sure all stock is evaporated before you add the next batch. This is important.
When you are on the last bit of stock, add the squash, pancetta, parmesan cheese and parsley. Adjust seasoning is necessary. Cook until the remaining liquid is absorbed.
Serve hot with additional cheese.
I find finely diced pancetta in my deli section of the grocery. Boar's Head brand is typically available and is my favorite.