Even so-so risotto couldn't ruin my Monday night. My Monday-night ritual involves coming home from work dragging myself outside for a jog (made significantly better by the addition of Coldplay's Viva La Vida to my music collection), after which I cook a something new and then sit down to watch Gossip Girl. It's beautiful.
4 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
2 ounces pancetta
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 butternut (or buttercup) squash
1 1/2 cups arborio or short-grain white rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used marsala, which is not at all dry, it was alright since a lot of the other ingredients are a bit sweet)
1/2 cup chopped apples
1/2 cup grated parmasan cheese
1 teaspoon dried sage (you could experiment here with other fall-ish herbs/spices, thyme for example)
salt and pepper to tasteIn a medium sauce pan, bring the stock to a boil, reduce heat to low while sauteing the vegetables and rice. In another sauce pan, melt the butter and saute the pancetta, onion and squash until the onion is translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oils. Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated. Ladle in 1/2 cup of chicken stock to the rice mixture and stir until stock is almost absorbed. Repeat with remaining stock. I added the apple about halfway through. The rice should be creamy and tender to the bite. Take off heat and add cheese, sage (or other herbs), and salt and pepper to taste. Serve.