Friday, October 16, 2015

Roasted Chicken, Sweet Potato, Acorn Squash, Asparagus, and Pancetta Risotto with Toasted Pine Nuts

I had lunch at Brio Tuscan Grille at Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga several weeks ago (a birthday celebration for a coworker) and ordered their Sweet Potato and Chicken Risotto. The combination of roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, pancetta, asparagus, and pine nuts in the risotto was quite delicious, so I tried to recreate it at home. In addition to the sweet potato, I added some acorn squash for extra flavor and color contrast. I think I came pretty close.

This recipe serves 4-6

2 skin-on chicken breast with ribs (about 2 lbs. total)
Salt & pepper

1 yam or sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 lb. acorn squash, diced (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 lb. thin asparagus, 3" of tips only
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

3 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
5 oz. chopped pancetta or bacon
1 small onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, grated

8 cups unsalted chicken broth
2 cups arborio rice
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup white wine

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves

Prep the chicken, yams and squash: Preheat oven to 350F.

ROASTED CHICKEN: Place the chicken breasts on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

ROASTED YAM & ACORN SQUASH: Place the diced yams and squash on a foil-lined baking sheet. Toss with 1/4 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken on the lower rack of the oven and the yams/squash on the upper rack. Roast the veggies about 35 minutes until lightly browned, then remove from oven to cool. Roast the chicken 1 hour and remove from oven - tent with foil and let cool before shredding.

PINE NUTS: Toast the pine nuts by placing in a dry non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon (about 5 minutes) until lightly toasted. Immediately remove from heat and set aside.

ASPARAGUS: Add a couple teaspoons of olive oil to a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the asparagus and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for a couple minutes until just crisp tender. Remove and set aside.

PANCETTA: Place the diced pancetta in a large saute pan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and fat has rendered. Set aside.

RISOTTO: Pour the chicken stock into a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.

Heat 4 tbsp. olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the diced onion and saute for 1-2 minutes; add the minced garlic. Cook another minute or so until the onion is translucent. Stir in the arborio rice and toss well to coat.

Add the white wine and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking until the wine has mostly evaporated.

Reheat the pancetta in the other pan. Add the roasted yam and acorn squash, roasted chicken pieces, and asparagus. Toss briefly. Add the rice mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the pine nuts and fresh thyme. Taste and adjust for seasonings (salt and/or pepper). If the mixture is on the dry side, add a bit of extra chicken broth.

Ladle 1-2 ladles of the hot chicken broth to the rice. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Continue this process for 18-20 minutes or until the rice is al dente. Turn off the heat. Add the asparagus and stir in the grated cheese and butter.

Plate the risotto in individual serving bowls. Garnish with extra grated parmesan and fresh thyme leaves.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Diced sweet potato. 

Sweet potato and acorn squash tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Roasted chicken. 

Shred the roasted chicken.

Saute the asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Sauteed asparagus and roasted sweet potatoes and acorn squash.

Cook the diced pancetta over medium heat until the fat has rendered. 

Heat the chicken stock.  

This is my fav brand of unsalted chicken stock, available at some supermarkets (I got this from our local Albertson's).

Chopped onion, white wine, chopped pancetta, arborio rice, toasted pine nuts and minced garlic. 

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil.  

Stir in the arborio rice.

Add the white wine and cook until reduced. 

 Ladle the hot chicken stock (one ladle at a time) to the rice, stirring well after each addition. Cook until the stock has mostly evaporated before adding another ladle. Do this for about 18-20 minutes or until the rice is creamy but still slightly al dente, that is, not mushy. 

Place the cooked diced pancetta back into the saute pan and reheat.  

Add the reserved diced sweet potatoes and acorn squash.  

Stir in the shredded roast chicken.  

Stir in the rice.  

If the risotto is on the dry side, add another ladle of chicken stock. 

Stir in the grated cheese and asparagus.  

Stir in the butter and 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves.  

 Serve with some extra grated parmesan on top and a sprig of thyme on the side. 

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