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Overhead Place setting of Plated Butternut Squash Risotto

Rich and Easy Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage

You had me at “Rich and Easy Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage”! This risotto is robust yet delicate at the same time. Give your taste buds something they’ll clamor for!

Pan of Butternut Squash Risotto overhead

This delightful twist on an Italian classic emerged following a visit to a local restaurant. My wife opted for a butternut squash risotto, and though it was delicious, it didn’t quite align with our expectations. Embracing my role as a devoted husband, I decided to finally make use of the two-month-old butternut squash that had been sitting in my kitchen – and I’m still amazed at how long these squashes last!

The risotto we tried at the restaurant leaned more towards an earthy, umami flavor, featuring simple chunks of butternut squash. However, what we – or rather, my wife – were anticipating was a risotto that was both rich and robust, yet also creamy. Once she shared her vision with me, I eagerly began the task of turning her risotto dreams into reality!

Why Butternut Squash?

Butternut squash, categorized as a “winter” squash, shares this classification with its cousins, including acorn, spaghetti, delicata, and pumpkin squashes. These squashes are vine-grown, starting in spring and harvested from late summer to early fall. Their low moisture content and tough outer skin make them remarkably hardy fruits. Yes, surprisingly, squashes are technically fruits, not vegetables, which might just redefine your view of the Nutritional Pyramid!

When stored in a cool, dark cellar, winter squash can remain fresh for at least two months, often even longer. Among its winter squash relatives, butternut squash may not be the most flavorful, but its firm texture and subtly sweet creaminess make it an ideal ingredient for risotto. Moreover, according to Healthline.com, butternut squash is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. A single cup can provide a whopping 457% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A, 52% of Vitamin C, and a significant amount of potassium, magnesium, manganese, among other nutrients. With these benefits, butternut squash becomes an excellent choice for health-conscious cooking.

Place setting of Plated Butternut Squash Risotto
Place setting of Plated Butternut Squash Risotto

The Herbs and Spices for our Butternut Squash Risotto

Obviously, we’re not aiming for a pumpkin pie flavor with this recipe. With that in mind, I was selective about the spices I chose to incorporate into my Butternut Squash Risotto. I opted for a combination of Black Pepper, Coriander (of course), Ginger, Nutmeg, Garlic, and Sage. These flavors help enhance the essence of the squash without overshadowing the delicate flavor of the Parmesan cheese and Oyster Mushrooms.

Regarding the sage, there are a couple of different approaches you can take. I used both rubbed sage and fresh slivered sage, but you can also fry the sage. If you choose this route, it’s most convenient to fry your sage in the pan with Olive Oil and Cracked Pepper before adding anything else. Frying the sage brings out a nuttier flavor, which is delicious, but I didn’t think of doing it until after the risotto was already made.

The Secret to the Creaminess of Butternut Squash Risotto

Typically, I don’t add cream to my risotto, but for this recipe, it’s key to achieving creaminess. I start by peeling and dicing the butternut squash into smaller cubes (approximately 1/2 inch in size). I toss them with 3 Tbsp of Olive Oil, some Himalayan Pink Salt, a little sugar, and ground coriander. Then, I roast the squash for approximately 25 minutes in the oven on parchment paper. Each side doesn’t need to be caramelized, but you want some light browning on at least one or two sides, as this helps enhance the flavor. Roasting it first is essential, as you really can’t achieve the same caramelization by simply cooking the squash directly with the risotto. Also, since cooked butternut squash is rather fragile, it’s important to delicately fold it in near the end.

After roasting the butternut squash, I emulsify a small portion of the squash with some heavy cream and chicken broth using an immersion blender. As your risotto cooks, you add additional broth and continue cooking. On the second addition of broth, I add the blended butternut squash mixture. Adding it too early can lead to unwanted browning of the risotto, so it’s best to keep this step towards the end. If you need additional broth after the liquid from the butternut squash has been absorbed, feel free to add more.

Risotto on a fork
Risotto on a fork

What Else?

Mushrooms are an excellent source of protein. In this recipe, I use Oyster Mushrooms, which boast the highest protein density among edible mushroom varieties. Intake Health offers some insightful pictograms comparing the nutritional facts of different mushrooms. Take a look if you’re interested in learning more! And, for those who prefer a vegetarian option, simply swap the chicken stock for vegetable or mushroom stock!

As for myself, I do enjoy my meat proteins. The perfect accompaniment to this butternut squash risotto is either Aidell’s Applewood Smoked Chicken Sausage or their Chicken and Apple Sausage (the latter being more savory). Slice the sausage and either pan-fry it or roast it alongside the butternut squash cubes. Pair this with a salad, such as our Herby Garden Salad, and you’ve got a complete meal!

Sideview Pan of Butternut Squash Risotto

Tips and Tricks

  • Use Parchment Paper for Roasting: When roasting your butternut squash, use parchment paper. This prevents sticking and saves time when cleaning your baking sheet.
  • Vegetarian Option: As mentioned earlier, you can easily make this dish vegetarian by substituting the chicken stock with vegetable or mushroom stock.
  • Leftovers or Cooking in Advance: To heat and rehydrate your risotto, use additional chicken broth in a pan. Alternatively, you can do this in the microwave by adding a couple of tablespoons of broth, microwaving the risotto for a few minutes, and then letting it sit covered to allow the steam to work its magic.
  • Blending the Butternut Squash: While you can use a regular blender, I prefer an immersion blender. I recommend the cordless Cuisinart Hand Blender – it’s very convenient and makes a great Christmas gift!
  • A Trusty Vegetable Peeler: A sharp vegetable peeler is essential. I use the OXO Good Grips Pro Swivel Peeler. It has remained sharp for the past two years and doesn’t feel flimsy like some others.

If You Like This Butternut Squash Risotto, Try These Recipes:



Rich and Easy Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage

5.0 from 4 votes
Course: DinnerCuisine: Italian, American
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes

A Rich and Easy Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe with Sage to impress your taste buds!

Cook Mode

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Ingredients

  • Butternut Squash Risotto
  • 1 Butternut Squash- Cubed (Approx. 5 Cups give or take)

  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil (1 Tbsp Separated)

  • 1 Tbsp Granulated White Sugar

  • 3 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt (1-½ tsp separated/view Notes below for Sea Salt)

  • 2 tsp Ground Coriander (1 tsp separated)

  • 1 Cup Sweet Onion- Diced

  • 2 Tbsp Butter

  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Garlic- Crushed/Finely Chopped

  • 1 tsp Fresh Ginger- Grated

  • 1-1/2 Cups Arborio Rice

  • 2 Cups Oyster Mushrooms

  • 1/2 Cup Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc Wine

  • 4-1/2 Cups Chicken Broth (½ cup separated)

  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream

  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Sage- Slivered

  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg

  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper

  • 1/2 tsp Rubbed Sage

  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan- Shredded

  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup

  • Additional/Optional Toppings
  • Parmesan Cheese

  • Fresh Sage

  • Chicken Apple Sausage

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  • Prepare a baking pan by lining it with parchment paper.
  • Chop both the top and bottom of your Butternut Squash making it easier to handle and peel with a vegetable peeler. Once peeled, slice it in half, clean out the seeds and cube into ½ inch cubes. Toss the cubed squash with 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1-½ tsp himalayan pink salt, sugar, and coriander. Spread it out on the baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Once done, separate out 1 cup and emulsify or blend until smooth the cup of butternut squash with a half cup of chicken broth and heavy cream.
  • In a large frying pan, on medium heat soften your onions with the butter and 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil in the pan for approximately 3-4 minutes. Then add your Oyster Mushrooms, Grated Ginger and Garlic. Continue sauteing for another 2 minutes.
  • Next add the Arborio Rice and stir the rice so each grain is coated with oil. Continue stirring occasionally until the rice kernels become translucent around the edges.
  • Add in the Chardonnay and 1 Cup of Chicken Broth. Stir occasionally as the rice starts to absorb the liquid. Continue adding chicken broth 1 Cup at a time.
  • After the second Cup of broth has nearly been absorbed, add in the creamy butternut squash mixture, along with the Sage (Fresh and rubbed), Ground Nutmeg, Black Pepper, and 1 tsp of Ground Coriander.
  • Continue adding chicken broth and stirring occasionally until the rice has softened and easily piles. At this point, add in the Parmesan Cheese, Roasted Squash, and Maple Syrup. Fold in the cheese until it’s entirely melted.
  • Serve with additional Parmesan Cheese and Fresh Sage!
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • If you’re using Sea Salt use half the recommended amount of salt.

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2 Comments

  1. Loved butternut squash risotto!

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