• Squash Risotto with Bacon & Leeks


Squash Risotto with Bacon and Leeks

By Andrew Zimmern

Creamy, comforting and oh-so satisfying, I love this butternut squash risotto. It’s also an easy way to feed a crowd. For a twist, try adding fresh steamed clams and their juices in place of half the stock.

Squash Risotto with Bacon & Leeks

Servings: 4 to 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 pound diced butternut or acorn squash
  • 2 ounces smoked bacon or pancetta, diced
  • 2 leeks, diced whites and pale green parts only
  • 3 sprigs fresh marjoram
  • 1  1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 5 (approximately) cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 cup of the best-aged pecorino Romano you can get your hands on, grated


Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan and reserve hot.

Place a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and when aromatic add the bacon, leeks, marjoram, and half the squash.

Cook until leeks are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the rice and stir to combine. Add the wine and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the wine has evaporated.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the stock, waiting for the liquid to evaporate before adding each ladle-full.

Add the remaining squash when you’ve gone through half of the stock. Stir, and continue adding the remaining stock one ladle at a time until rice is tender, about 35 to 40 minutes total cooking time.

Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cheese. Serve immediately, passing a great salad at the table.

Photograph by Madeleine Hill.

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