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Butternut Squash Risotto is a fall favorite around here. With slightly sweet and savory flavors and gorgeous orange color, this meatless entree or side dish is a perfect way to enjoy seasonal flavors on a nice Autumn night.
If you love comforting Fall dishes, then you'll also enjoy our Roasted Turkey with Butter Herb Rub and Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings! Both would pair great with this risotto as a main dish and a dessert. Or try serving it with sausages and roasted asparagus for another fantastic flavor combination!
Years ago I had a friend who told me that she made risotto "all the time". I felt like it was an intimidating thing to attempt as a home cook and pestered her about it, always getting the somewhat aloof reply that "it was easy" and she just "followed the directions on the box". I thought she was hiding some kind of risotto secret from me until we realized she was confusing arborio rice used to make risotto with orzo pasta!
When I finally learned how to make risotto, I was kicking myself for not trying it earlier! It's actually not difficult to achieve incredible risotto at home and saves paying an arm and a leg for it at a fine dining restaurant. And if I'm honest, I'm always let down be risotto at most restaurants after making it myself at home! My other favorite risotto is a roasted garlic and mushroom risotto.
We love to serve this Butternut Squash Risotto with sausages and asparagus for a hearty fall dinner. It’s a versatile little dish that can be dressed up or dressed down depending on how fancy you want your meal to be. Serving it with crispy fried sage, fresh arugula, or chopped parsley really makes a world of a difference in flavors and appearance as well!
What is butternut squash risotto?
Butternut squash risotto is a simple and easy to make rice dish that combines risotto rice (Arborio rice) and a fresh chunked butternut squash. Using simple ingredients like chicken stock, onion, garlic, and dry white wine you can get a very flavorful meatless entree or side dish with little effort.
Butternut Squash Risotto Ingredients
- Chicken stock: Water and bullion or vegetable stock could also be used. It's important to warm the stock first so you aren't adding cold liquid to your risotto, which will slow down the cooking process and won't absorb as well.
- Butternut squash: An autumn squash that stars in this recipe. You can buy it whole and do the peel and prep yourself, or save time and buy it precut into chunks from the store.
- Olive oil: Used to help saute the veggies and to coat the butternut squash for roasting.
- Salt and pepper: Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper are simple seasonings to help pack some flavor into every bite.
- Butter: Used to saute the veggies, it adds a richness and depth of flavor as well.
- Onion: Diced onion, once cooked down will add a little texture, sweetness, and savory flavors in every wonderful bite.
- Arborio rice: Also known as risotto rice, this white grain once cooked down will give a creamy and slightly firm chew in every bite. (Similar to oatmeal texture).
- Dry white wine: This is completely optional, but recommended. It adds a wonderful flavor to the dish, but even without it, the risotto still tastes great.
- Parmesan cheese: Adding a little saltiness, savoriness, and cheesy goodness we all love in risottos!
- Topping: Chopped arugula, chopped parsley, or even fresh sage over the top help to add flavor and color to this rice dish.
How to Make Butternut Squash Risotto
- Prep: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
- Roast the squash: Place the peeled and cubed butternut squash on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat. Roast for 25-30 minutes until tender but not mushy.
- While the squash roasts, warm your stock or broth: In a saucepan over medium-low heat, heat your chicken stock until warm.
- Saute the onions: Meanwhile in a large dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add in the onion and saute for 3-5 minutes until it’s softened and beginning to turn translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add the rice: Add your arborio rice and stir until grains are evenly coated with the oil. Cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently.
- Gradually add the liquids: Add your wine and then cook until it’s almost completely evaporated. Slowly begin adding in the warmed chicken stock, ½ cup at a time, stirring well. When most of the liquid has been absorbed, add in another ½ cup of stock, continuing this way until almost all of the stock has been added and the rice is tender but chewy. This will take roughly 25-35 minutes with frequent stirring. It's not hard, but a bit time consuming and a labor of love.
- Add the squash and season: Remove from heat and stir in the roasted butternut squash and ½ of the parmesan cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Plate and serve: Serve with more parmesan cheese, arugula, parsley, or sage.
What to serve with butternut squash risotto?
If you want some suggestions of what goes with butternut squash risotto, my favorite thing is to add is sliced, smoked sausage. You could smoke your own or purchase consider someand sautee it, roast it, or grill it.
Do I have to peel butternut squash before roasting?
Yes, we are roasting already cut chunks of butternut squash on a baking sheet. This means that they should be free of all peeled skin and seeds prior to being cut into cubes.
Can you freeze butternut squash risotto?
I don't recommend freezing risotto because the texture is always a little drier and more grainy after being thawed and reheated. It’s best to store leftovers in the fridge for up to a few days and reheat in the microwave rather than freezing and reheating.
More Fall Favorite Recipes Like This
- Brined Turkey
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
- Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Homemade Slow Cooker Apple Cider
- 3-Layer S’mores Cake
- Apple Crisp
- Creamy Leftover Turkey Wild Rice Soup
- Fresh Green Bean Casserole
Butternut Squash Risotto
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cups butternut squash diced into ½-inch to ¾-inch chunks
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil divided
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- ½ medium onion diced (about ½ cup)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ cups arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine optional, but adds wonderful flavor
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese divided
- 1 cup arugula or chopped parsley or sage for serving
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easier clean up.
- Heat the chicken stock in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until warm.
- Place the butternut squash on the baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss well to coat evenly. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes until tender but not mushy. See note about adding sausage and asparagus.
- Meanwhile, melt butter with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 3-5 minutes until softened and beginning to turn translucent. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
- Add the arborio rice and stir well until the grains are evenly coated with the oil. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the wine, stirring well until it has evaporated. Begin adding the warm chicken stock, ½ cup at a time. Stir frequently between each addition. When most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, add another ½ cup of the stock. Continue to do this, stirring often until almost all of the stock has been used and the rice is tender but chewy. I like to save ½ cup of stock in reserve for adding right at the very end. This typically takes anywhere from 25-35 minutes, with frequent stirring. The resulting risotto should be fairly loose and almost the same consistency of oatmeal.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the roasted butternut squash and ½ of the parmesan cheese. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. You may want to use the reserved ½ cup of chicken stock to slightly loosen up the risotto if it has gotten too thick. Serve with more parmesan cheese and arugula sprinkled on top.
- Risotto can be a wonderful meatless entree in itself, but we especially like it with chicken and apple sausages and asparagus. You can add 4 chicken and apple sausages and 1 pound asparagus, washed with ends trimmed, to the pan when roasting the butternut squash, then slice and add to the risotto, stirring it in with the butternut squash, or plate the sausage and asparagus on the side.
- If you want to save yourself a pan and skip roasting the butternut squash in the oven, you could saute it in the butter and oil for 5-6 minutes until slightly browned and softened a bit before adding the onion to saute for another 3-5 minutes and proceed as directed with making the risotto.