Winning Recipe | Best Appetizer or Entree
Creamy risotto, aromatics, Pecorino Romano cheese, and butternut squash are taken to a new level when studded with gorgeous Royalty Pecans. The dish is completed with an extra smattering of pecan halves slathered in a maple glaze and sprinkled with sea salt. This winning recipe was submitted by Shauna in Utah. You can find more great recipes on her blog at HAVEYourselfatime.com.
- 1 ½ cups of Royalty Pecans
- ½ stick salted butter
- 1 ½ cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
- ½ red onion, diced
- 1 shallot, sliced thin
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 ¾ cups Arborio rice
- 6 cups chicken broth
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
- ½ pound bacon, cooked and diced
In a deep skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the squash, onion, shallot, and garlic. Chop one cup of the pecans and add them to the pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and half of the thyme leaves. Cook until the squash is softened and the onion is translucent. Remove to a plate, and set aside.
In the same skillet, melt the remaining butter. Add the Arborio rice and toast for a few minutes on medium high heat. When the rice is slightly golden, begin adding the chicken broth.
Pour the chicken broth into the rice ½ cup at a time. Stir the rice continuously and allow the liquid to absorb before adding another ½ cup. This process should take at least 30 minutes. When all of the broth is used, the rice will be tender but will still have an al dente bite.
When the rice is done, add the pecan and squash mixture. Add the cream and ¾ cup of cheese. Stir gently to combine.
In a small saucepot, add the remaining pecans. Toast over medium heat for a minute until fragrant. Add the maple syrup and stir. Heat for a couple of minutes until the syrup is sticky and adheres to the pecans. Pour the pecans onto parchment paper and sprinkle with sea salt. Allow to dry for a few minutes.
Serve the risotto with a sprinkle of fresh thyme, the diced bacon, the remaining cheese, and the maple glazed pecans.