The Frugal Husband is not one to rest on his culinary laurels. (Except that he just now almost set the house on fire with hot oil. Which is not exactly resting on his laurels, but neither is it very Top Chef behavior. Just sayin', FruHubs.)
So here's what he made for dinner on Thursday. As usual, The Frugal Husband is opposed to recipes, so he found a couple and tailored them to his preferences. In other words, don't be offended if this is your family's contribution to the Smithsonian Institute, and he changed it.
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (2 cups)
2 tablespoons half and half
2 teaspoons olive oil
6 oz diced pancetta or bacon (FruHubs used pancetta but he says, "Next time I'm going the bacon route.")
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock (make your own, yo)
Pinches of curry, cumin, cinnamon, brown sugar, basil, salt, pepper
(Pinch means like 1/2 to 1 teaspoon. TFH doesn't particularly love cinnamon, or curry, or brown sugar in savory food, so she would err on the side of a very, very, very small, perhaps invisible, pinch. But don't tell FruHubs.) [From FruHubs: Now, now, you need 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of the brown sugar,1/4 a teaspoon of the cinnamon, and touch of the other stuff. And she loved this or else it wouldn't be posted.] (This is his nice way of saying that TFH gobbled up every bite.)
2 tablespoons (or whatever - seriously, could there ever be too much?) Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons cold butter
Crushed pistachio nuts & chives for topping
1. Cook squash in boiling water until fork tender.
2. Meanwhile, fry the pancetta in the olive oil until crispy. If you're using bacon, you know how to fry it. Reserve two tablespoons of fat in pan (And you know that means save the rest in your bacon fat jar. What? Sorry, didn't hear you - what do you mean you don't have a bacon fat jar? Are you in need of an intervention, or perhaps some methadone?).
3. In reserved fat, cook onion until it's translucent, adding garlic when you're almost done. (Garlic cooks so much more quickly than onion, so please ignore anyone who tells you to throw those two ingredients in the pan at the same time, as said anyone is freaking cra-zay-zy. And you know which f-word really belongs back there.) Add the rice and stir until coated with fat.
4. In a surprising second "meanwhile" move, bring the stock to a simmer.
5. Now's where it starts to be a big risotto pain, because you have to stir non-stop for 25 minutes. So, do some stretches, pour a glass of wine, and put someone on standby in case you have to pee. Careful, now: Add a ladle-full of stock to the rice and cook, stirring nonstop (you heard correctly) until all the stock is absorbed. Then add more, and do it again. And again, and again, and again until the rice is tender and lovely. This will take fo-evv-ah, so be ready. Oh, and did TFH mention that this takes a while?
6. After your arm is about to fall off from the constant stirring, add the spices, squash, cheese, butter, half & half. Stir some more. Don't let it burn! Be sure to scrape down those sides! Don't screw it up in the home stretch!!!
7. Put that delicious risotto in some bowls and top it with pancetta (be generous), pistachios, and chives. Eat it. Die happy.
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