Butternut Squash Risotto

I swear that the laws and properties of physics must be suspended in test kitchens.  Because recently, I’ve been encountering recipes in magazines and cookbooks that defy these laws.  That’s really the only explanation I can come up with to explain why the Squash Risotto recipe I tore out of Bon Appetit said it would only take 8 minutes for 6 cups of cubed squash to soften on top of the stove or that I would only need 3 1/2 cups of broth to my 1 1/2 cups of arborio rice.

This recipe, my friends, was a lesson in trusting my instincts.  It was also a lesson in patience.  I’m usually pretty bad about both these things so I think maybe the Universe was trying to get my attention under the guise of creamy, tender rice and subtly sweet butternut squash.  I should have also paid better attention to how much time this recipe took me from start to finish.  While I can’t predict whether the laws of physics will be broken in your kitchen, I can say that this recipe is not what I would call a quick weeknight go to. But if you see it through to the end, you will have a fantastic main course or side dish to bring to the table.

I wish all of the Universe’s lessons tasted this good.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Adapted from Bon Appetit

BAH Note: One super easy change to BA’s recipe would be to roast the squash in the oven instead of cooking it on top of the stove.  If you do decide to roast it, go easy on the olive oil.  You’ll want the squash to incorporate into the risotto and I have no first hand experience with how a bunch of oil on your veg will impact that process.  I didn’t know what to expect from the Sherry Vinegar in the dish but it brought a subtle sweetness to the squash that was quite enjoyable.

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 – 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 3 cans vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Heat half the olive oil in a dutch oven over high heat.  Add the squash and a pinch of kosher salt and cook until it begins to brown, stirring occasionally.  Reduce the heat to medium,  add the sage, cover, and cook until the squash is tender, adding water or vegetable broth a 1/4 cup at a time if the pot begins to dry out.  Once the squash is tender, stir in the sherry wine vinegar and transfer the squash to a bowl.  Wipe the inside of your pot.

Heat the remaining oil in the dutch oven and cook the onion over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 20 minutes or until the onions are tender and well browned.

While the onions cook, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer in a large saucepan.  Cover and keep warm over a low flame.

Once the onion are soft and brown, add the rice to the pot, and stir the rice so that it is coated with the oil in the pot.  Once the rice starts to become slightly translucent, ladle in 1 cup of the warm vegetable broth and stir until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.  Continue adding broth, a cup at a time, and stirring until the rice is tender and creamy.

Add the squash to the pot and stir to combine before stirring in the softened butter and parmesan cheese (if using).  Enjoy immediately.

{prntable recipe}

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22 Responses to Butternut Squash Risotto

  1. Jennifer A (Bread and Putter) says:

    Sounds dreamy. I tried a Mario Batali recipe once that was similar involving pumpkin and orzo.

    I have a question though – why does your photo seem to show some sort of a risotto cake? Did you just shape it that way for serving?

    • Wendi says:

      Jennifer, I took the leftovers and formed them into little cakes that I dusted with some flour and then quickly sauteed in my underutilized copper pan. I admit that I was too hungry to take a picture of the risotto before diving face first into my plate. So I had to get creative.

  2. Recipes never call for enough liquid to make creamy risotto. At least that’s my experience!

  3. Lan says:

    i am such a fan of risotto, but the fact that it takes FOREVER to cook makes me never want to make it. the laws of physics must really not exist in test kitchens because risotto AND butternut squash takes so long to cook/soften.

  4. This sounds fantastic! I love the photo as well!!
    I am placing this on my must make list!!

  5. Wendi, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before (I’m usually so caught up in the recipe or the story behind it) but you take really great pictures.

  6. Jen W. says:

    I find that risotto always takes longer than the recipe says it will, especially if it has butternut squash in it. Maybe you could try cutting the squash into smaller cubes so it will cook faster, and see if you still like the texture.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Butternut squash is my favorite thing to pair with risotto!!! Looks delicious

  8. Tracy says:

    I’m glad to see it looks like you mastered risotto cakes! Butternut squash is one of my favorite risottos too!

  9. thesavvystudent says:

    Yummy! I’m just getting into cooking risotto but am a long time “enthusiast” from restaurant experiences. I will have to try this combo because it looks really wonderful and I imagine tastes just as great.

  10. Deborah says:

    It’s funny – I’ve had to trust my instincts while following more than 1 risotto recipe!! This one does sound amazing – love butternut squash!!

    • Wendi says:

      Deborah, I am usually guilty of not trusting my instincts. And then the consequence is usually utter disappointment with the results.

  11. This sounds amazing… Good for you for trusting your instincts. I think roasting the squash sounds perfect, too.

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