Impress your Guests with this Butternut Squash Risotto
Risotto is one of those dishes that can make everything right when it all seems wrong. It is luscious and creamy. It can be served as an entree or a side dish.
This butternut squash risotto is the perfect side dish with a protein. You can serve it with steak, fish or even turkey!
This risotto is the perfect side to go with the bird! It has all the hearty Fall flavors like sage and butternut squash, it definitely has all the Fall feels.
I have a bunch of helpful Tips in this Recipe
The butternut squash becomes creamy and it mixes beautifully with the rice. Parmesan cheese makes this risotto salty and nutty. The rice will cook until it is “al dente”, so it will still have a tiny bite when it’s done, and it won’t be mushy.
One thing has to be said about risotto though. Risotto requires time and patience. Below are some “tips and tricks” to make it faster but when it comes to risotto, the more love you give it, the more love it’ll give you back.
The more important thing to keep in mind when making risotto is to stir, stir, stir. The rice requires to be constantly stirred because it helps the starch in the rice to come out and thicken the mixture.
Detailed instructions on how to make this risotto:
In a medium pot, heat the chicken stock. Leave it on the stove while you work on the butternut squash.
Tip! Warm chicken stock will cook the risotto quicker and will make it creamier vs cold or room temperature chicken stock. The liquids to be added should be warm, to keep the risotto cooking steadily at the same temperature.
In a large sauté pan on medium high heat, heat the extra virgin olive oil and add the butternut squash. Season it with salt and pepper.
Stir the squash for a few minutes to get the cooking process started. Add the onion and re-season with salt again. Add the sage.
Tip! Adding salt right after the onion allows the onion to sweat and cook easier. So whenever you cook with onions, always add a bit of salt to follow it.
The smell in your kitchen at this point will be phenomenal! Sauté the butternut squash mixture for 7-10 minutes tiring occasionally. Cook until its completely cooked through but not mushy.
Tip! If the butternut squash get bits of brown on some sides, that just means flavor. Don’t let it burn, but know that when it gets golden like that, it adds layers of flavor to the risotto.
Once the butternut squash is fully cooked, remove from the heat, place in a bowl and set aside.
In the same sauté pan, add more extra virgin olive oil. Heat it on medium high heat and add the rice.
Stir to coat the rice in the olive oil. Toast rice for 1-2 minutes stirring a few times.
Tip! Toasting the rice brings out the natural nutty flavor in the Arborio rice.
After the rice has toasted, it’s time to start adding the liquids.
Start with the wine. Make sure the wine has been warmed in the microwave. Remember, we don’t want to add any cold liquids.
Add the entire cup of white wine. Use a white wine that you enjoy drinking. Avoid sweet wines like Chardonnay. A pinot grigio or a Sauvignon blanc will work perfectly.
Lot’s of steam will come up as you stir the white wine in. Be careful. Continue stirring the rice, allowing the wine to be absorbed and evaporate.
Once the bottom of the pan is dry again, it’s time to add the chicken stock.
This process will be repetitive. Add a ladle full of chicken stock, mix it in. Stir well as it absorbs into the rice. Once the bottom of the pan is dry again. add another ladle full of stock.
Repeat this until you are about halfway done with the chicken stock.
At this point, take a small taste of the rice. Taste for seasoning and taste to see how far cooked the rice is at this point. Adjust seasoning if needed.
The rice will be quite hard still, so keep on adding the stock and stirring. Wait for it to be absorbed and add stock again.
Add, stir, absorb, add, stir, absorb; that’s the mantra here!
Add stock until you estimate to have at least 2 ladle fulls left. Taste the rice again for seasoning and “done-ness”. The rice should be close to being done and it is creamy and moist.
The consistency is of the rice should be “al dente”. This means it has to have a bite to it. If the rice is mushy, it’s over cooked. It will still taste yummy, just know for next time you make it!
Add the butternut squash and stir it in.
Immidiately follow with the butter and 1/2 a ladle of chicken stock.
Stir the butter in and and finish with the parmesan cheese.
This risotto should be served immediately after it is done cooking. It will be creamy and rich.
Tip! If you let it sit, it can dry out. Add the last ladle spoon left of stock to it to bring back the moisture. Serve immediately.
Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and finely chopped fresh sage.
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup white wine warmed in the microwave for a minute
- 4 cups chicken stock plus 1 more if needed
- 2 cups butternut squash peeled and cubed in 1 inch cubes
- 1/2 small onion finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- In a medium pot, heat the chicken stock in a steady medium low heat. Leave heating, while you prepare the butternut squash.
- Separately, in a large sauté pan on medium high heat, add the butternut squash, season with salt and pepper and sautee for 2-3 minutes.
- Sauté and stir so it cooks evenly on all sides.
- Add the onion and re-season with salt.
- Stir in the sage. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stiring occasionally until the squash is tender and cooked through.
- Set aside in a a bowl.
- In the same pan, add more olive oil.
- Add the Risotto and coat well in the olive oil.
- Toast the rice in the pan for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the wine wine. Be careful with the steam!
- Stirring constantly, let the wine evaporate. Once you can see that the liquid is all absorbed, its time to star adding the stock.
- Add one laddle full of stock at a time. This is a repetitive motion. Add stock, stir it in constantly. Once absorbed, add another laddle full.
- Continue adding the stock until you have used a little more than half of the stock.
- Test the rice, check for seasoning and check to see how much it has cooked. At this point the rice will still be hard and probably half way done.
- Adjust the seasoning if more salt and pepper in needed.
- Continue adding the stock and stirring it in. At this point the rice is clumpy and moist. It has puffed up and is on its way to being almsot done.
- When you have around 2 laddles left of stock, check to see if the rice is cooked. Risotto is supposed to be "al dente". This means it will not be completely soft all the way through. It will have a bite to it. It will be cooked through but it will just have a little texture still.
- Stir in the butternut squash and adjust the seasoning if needed. *check notes below
- Add one more laddle full of stock.
- Add the butter and parmesan cheese. Stir them in. If the rice is a bit dry, add the remaining of the stock.
- Serve the risotto and grate more parmesan cheese over it. Enjoy!