This Butternut Squash Risotto recipe is easy, healthy, and deliciously creamy without adding tons of ingredients. Risotto is perfect for when you’re craving something warm and hearty this fall!
Risotto is a dish that is great all year-round, and will quickly become a family favorite. If you haven’t made one yet, then this butternut squash risotto is an excellent start. This risotto is quite straightforward, doesn't involve many ingredients, no pre-roasting the squash (unless you want even deeper butternut squash flavor), or any other difficult and time-consuming prep.
It is relatively light risotto, vegetarian, and can be made vegan very easily by using vegan butter, vegetable broth, and vegan cheese instead of the regular ingredients listed in this recipe.
There is plenty of customization when it comes to risottos by adding variety of spices, herbs, mushrooms and protein such as pancetta, chorizo, chicken or seafood. But I’ll leave it up to you, as this is just a simple vegetarian base that you can use to customize further.
What I’ve used in this butternut squash risotto:
Butternut Squash - you can also use roasted winter squash or regular pumpkin of choice.
Risotto rice - essential to use the right rice to have the best and authentic result.
Butter - gives that buttery, creamy flavor to the rice.
Warm Chicken or vegetable stock - adds texture and rich flavor.
Dry White Wine - adds a boost of acidity to the dish, but feel free to go for a non-alcoholic version and just stick to the lemon juice and add a bit of broth or hot water instead.
Season simply - salt, pepper and a little nutmeg or cinnamon it’s all you need.
Parmesan - salty parmesan or similar other aged cheese will help to develop the flavor and complete the dish.
Just a quick note that this is a my way of making risotto, maybe not the authentic Italian Risotto type because I love my risotto fulfilling, creamy and thick with a bit (but not too much) of liquid inside. You can simmer the rice until the liquid is all vaporized if you wish to follow the more classical risotto version.
In a wide pot, a dutch oven, or skillet, melt butter.
Sautee onion, garlic until onion becomes translucent and garlic fragrant.
Add in the arborio rice and stir constantly for few minutes.
Pour in the wine and take it to almost boil.
Stir in the diced butternut squash, and follow with ½ chicken broth.
Stir constantly and add the broth slowly in the pot little by little. It should take about 25 minutes for all the rice to absorb all the liquid and butternut squash to soften.
Follow with nutmeg, salt, pepper.
Add in parmesan, parsley (or add as a garnish on top later). Stir to combine.
Serve right away.
- Don’t try to rush the process by adding too much chicken/vegetable broth at once. Ideally, you want to add the stock just enough for it to cover the rice (and in our case squash). Wait until the liquid is vaporized and then add again and again. This process will allow the rice to cook evenly. So make sure to add stock little by little so that your rice will not end up mushy.
- You’ll know when the risotto is ready, it needs to have a bit of firmness in it and the texture should be creamy. If you can pull the spoon through the risotto and it slowly oozes back in place then congrats, your risotto is ready.
- Add a bit of variety! There is plenty of customization that you can do. Simply experiment with different spices, veggies but make sure to follow the basic rules of cooking risotto.
- For more flavor, try adding fresh or dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano.
- The butternut squash pairs well with mushrooms, saute them separately on a pan with some butter before adding to risotto in the end.
- Add protein - cook chicken strips separately on high heat for about 3-4 minutes on both sides until golden brown and stir in the risotto in the end of cooking. Alternatively you can arrange cooked chicken strips beautifully on top of risotto once serving.
- Butternut squash - if you have more time, you could roast the butternut squash cubes or whole squash cut in half in the oven with mix of herbs and olive oil. Then transfer the slices to risotto as guided in the recipe. If you’re looking for that orange color, puree the roasted/cooked butternut squash before adding to risotto. You may need to adjust the chicken broth quantity in this case.
- Top your risotto with grilled, pan-seared shrimps or scallops, bacon, pancetta, chorizo.
- Serve the risotto with mushrooms or plain risotto as a side dish to seabass, chicken, salmon.
- Add bacon or pancetta to your risotto.
- Any vegetables will work well with risotto, try peas, tomatoes, zucchini, kale, sweet potato, spinach.
- A few of my other favorite risotto recipes are: Mushroom Risotto, Tomato & Basil Risotto, Asparagus Risotto and Pumpkin Risotto.
- If you're looking for a heavier and creamier risotto, I'd recommend using heavy cream instead of ½ of the vegetable broth. Add the cream in the end.
Basmati rice, Farro rice, Carnaroli rice, or sushi rice can be used as alternatives for arborio rice.
However, If you are trying to stay away from carbs, a good way to enjoy a semi-traditional risotto is to substitute Basmati rice, burglar wheat, or pearled barley.
First things first, the most important ingredient here is rice. And not just any rice but Arborio rice, which is the most commonly found short-grain rice.
Actually, risotto's luscious texture comes exactly from the starch of Arborio rice. Short-grain rice like this one has a high starch content and tends to absorb less liquid, resulting in a stickier, more compact risotto.
Additionally, it’s packed with more fiber than traditional pasta and doesn’t need a heavy, dairy-based sauce.
I hope you'll enjoy this Butternut Squash Risotto and if you make this recipe, please let me know down below in the comments or by tagging @theyummy_bowl under your picture on Instagram.
Thank you for reading,
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Butternut Squash Risotto
- 4 ½ tablespoon butter
- 1 large brown onion finely diced
- 3 large garlic cloves minced
- ⅔ cup white wine
- 1 ¾ cups risotto rice Arborio, Carnaoli
- 4 cups chicken broth or as needed
- 1 cup parmesan
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Nutmeg to taste
- 3 ½ cup butternut squash or pumpkin diced
- Parsley pumpkin seeds, pine nuts for garnish
- Pumpkin seed oil for garnish
- In a wide pot or skillet, melt butter and sautee onion, garlic until onion becomes translucent and
- Garlic fragrant. Add in the rice and stir constantly for few minutes.
- Pour in the wine and take it to almost boil. Stir in the diced butternut squash, and follow with ½ chicken broth.
- Stir constantly and add the broth slowly in the pot little by little. It should take about 25 minutes for all the rice to absorb all the liquid. Follow with parmesan, parsley (or add as a garnish on top later), nutmeg, salt, pepper. Serve right away.
Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on the products used.
Full Nutrition Disclaimer can be found here.
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