Home » The BEST Butternut Squash Risotto

The BEST Butternut Squash Risotto

by Mark Dylan


This butternut squash risotto is the perfect dish for any fall meal! You’ll absolutely love the rich, savory flavors of this dish.

Butternut Squash Risotto in a skillet.

Delicious Butternut Squash Risotto

Dinner is served! Butternut squash risotto is on the menu tonight, and it’s so creamy and delicious. Risotto may seem like an intimidating meal to make, but it’s rather simple.

After you read through this easy tutorial for how to make butternut squash risotto, you’ll be a pro in no time!

Why you’ll love it!

Vegetarian: looking for a meal sans meat? You found one!

Easy Dinner Idea: In just a few simple steps dinner will be ready.

Simple, Yet Elevated: what we mean by this is it tastes fancy schmancy, but is easy to make.

Butternut squash cooking in a pan.

Featured Ingredients

  • Butternut squash: you have a few options when it comes to butternut squash. You can buy a butternut squash and chop it into cubes or you can buy a pre-chopped butternut squash from the store.
  • Spices: we’re using coarse sea salt, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, coriander, and nutmeg. The perfect fall flavor blast!
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • Onion and garlic: these two fragrant veggies are essential starters in getting an incredible base flavor.
  • Broth: any kind of broth works for this recipe. We’ve made it with both vegetable broth and chicken broth (our preference, but not vegetarian). Heck, you could even use our parmesan broth from The Cheese Knees!
  • Fresh sage leaves: fresh sage is a must! It adds just the right amount of freshness to this dish.
  • White wine: we used a Sauvignon blanc for this recipe but any dry white wine would do the trick.
  • Arborio rice: make sure to use arborio rice. It’s a specific kind of rice used to make risotto.
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese: the key to a creamy and flavorful butternut squash risotto is freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Smashing butternut squash with the back of a fork.

Simple Instructions

  1. Season the butternut squash. Place half of the butternut squash in a bowl and season t with brown sugar salt, black pepper, and oil. Let that mixture sit. Set aside the rest of the butternut squash for later.
  2. Make the broth. You are going to make a simple, yet flavorful broth for your risotto. Saute onion and garlic in a large skillet. Then, add the broth and warm spices (coriander, nutmeg, and sage leaves) to the pot and simmer it the broth over low heat.
  3. Sauté the butternut squash. Add olive oil to a large pot and saute the seasoned butternut squash and cook it down. When the squash is soft, smash it with the back of a fork. It will make a creamy broth.
  4. Slowly add liquid to the rice and veggies. Push the squash mash to the side of the pot and then add butter to the other half of the pot. Add the remaining squash and arborio rice to the pot and toast it. Mix everything together and slowly add a ladle of broth to the pan and mix. When the broth absorbs add another ladle. repeat this until all the broth has been used and the arborio rice has a bite to it.

be patient

Making risotto is a slow process. The process of adding liquid to the rice should take between 30-45 minutes. Grab a glass of wine or tea and enjoy the process.

Melting butter in a skillet.

Top Tips

Running short on time? If you are running short on time or don’t like chopping butternut squash, buy pre-chopped squash from the grocery store. We bought our squash pre-chopped from Fresh Thyme.

Don’t like spice? Don’t like spice? Skip the cayenne pepper or use red pepper flakes instead. 

Take your time. This recipe is a labor of love, do not rush the process

Risotto cooking in a pan.

FAQ

What is butternut squash made of?

Butternut squash is made with arborio rice, broth, parmesan cheese, and other ingredients.

What protein goes with butternut squash risotto?

You can serve butternut squash risotto with chicken, beef, or pork. All three proteins would pair very well with butternut squash risotto.

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Butternut squash topped with parmesan.

Storage

Store this risotto in an airtight container once it has cooled completely for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

To reheat: Transfer the risotto to a pan and heat it over medium/low heat. Add about 1/4 cup of broth to the risotto and mix. Cook until warm.

Butternut squash in a skillet.

Ingredients

  • 4.5 cups 1-inch cubes butternut squash separated
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt separated
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large white onion diced and divided
  • 6 cloves garlic minced and divided
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 cup Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups uncooked arborio rice
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese +more for topping

Instructions 

  • Place 2.5 cups of butternut squash in a large bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with 1 teaspoon of salt, brown sugar, ½ teaspoon of black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Massage the oil and seasonings into the butternut squash with your hands. Let the butternut squash sit for 15 minutes.

  • Add the remaining salt and pepper to a small bowl, you will use this mixture to season the risotto in layers.

  • Add ½ tablespoon of oil to a large stock pot. When the olive oil is fragrant add half of the white onion to the pot and season with salt and pepper from the salt and pepper bowl. Sauté the onion for 2 minutes and then add 3 cloves of minced garlic to the pot and sauté for another minute.

  • Add the broth, coriander, nutmeg, and sage leaves to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer until the risotto is ready to be prepared.

  • Next, heat a large skillet with sides over medium/high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Add the cubed butternut squash that has been sitting for 15 minutes to the pan and toss with olive oil. Cover the skillet and let the butternut squash cook for 3-4 minutes. Uncover the squash and toss and add the rest of the onion and garlic to the skillet. Cover and let the squash cook for another 3-4 minutes. The goal is to let the squash caramelize and soften.

  • Deglaze the pan with the white wine and allow the squash to cook in the wine for 2-3 minutes.

  • Once the squash is soft, use the back of a fork to mash the squash into a puree. Move the squash puree to one side of the skillet and add the butter to the opposite side of the skillet. When the butter is melted add the remaining squash and arborio rice to the pan and toss.

  • Turn heat to medium and add ¾ cup of the broth mixture to the skillet and stir until the broth absorbs completely. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Repeat this step until there is about ½ cup of broth left. This takes about 30 minutes. Do not rush this! After you’ve used about 7.5 cups of broth, your rice should be almost cooked. Give it a try to see if it’s close to al dente. If it’s still very hard, you’ll need to add the remaining broth.

  • Add the final ½ cup of broth to the rice and let it absorb about halfway and then add grated parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted.

  • Remove from heat and season with cracked black pepper and fresh sage.

Tips & Notes

  • If you are running short on time or don’t like chopping butternut squash, buy pre-chopped squash from the grocery store. We bought our squash pre-chopped from Fresh Thyme. 
  • Don’t like spice? Skip the cayenne pepper or use red pepper flakes instead. 
  • This recipe is a labor of love, do not rush the process!

Nutrition facts

Calories: 375kcal Carbohydrates: 57g Protein: 9g Fat: 10g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 4g

Photography: photos taken in this post are by Ashley McGlaughlin from The Edible Perspective.





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