This recipe for Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto is the ultimate fall comfort food - it's super cozy, warm, and full of rich butternut squash flavor!
Ohhhh risotto. Every time I make it, I feel like I'm doing something really special for myself. If there was a "self-care" category for recipes, risotto would be at the top of the list. The cozy, warm, peaceful feelings risotto gives me are all wrapped up in everything about it, from the simple but high-quality ingredients to the calm, lazy stirring of the rice, to the heat that's folded into the rice grains from 30 minutes of cooking - it just warms my heart and soul!
And I love that each season can have its own special version of risotto. Late this past February, I posted this Lemon Risotto that I had served with lamb chops for the perfect Valentine's day menu. I'm thinking this butternut squash version for fall would be dreamy with my Flat Iron Steak with Maple Bourbon Espresso Sauce, and maybe this Kale Salad with Apples and Cranberries. Time to plan a dinner party, don't you think?
Ingredients for Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto
- Butternut squash - for this recipe, we are roasting some diced butternut squash and using it two ways: first, we puree some of the roasted squash into the chicken stock that will be stirred into the rice. This way, the risotto will have a rich, golden hue - as if we had added in an abundance of saffron! Second, the rest of the roasted squash is kept warm while the risotto cooks and then folded into the rice at the very end.
- Chicken stock - the best risotto has a lot to do with the quality of chicken stock that you use. I've made homemade risottos with canned chicken broth before that ended up being disappointingly bland and just, blah. While using homemade stock is the ultimate/best situation, that's not always a possibility. Use a stock that tastes good on its own - something you'd enjoy sipping from a cup. I really enjoy the Kirkland Signature's brand from Costco, Kitchen Basics (buy pretty much anywhere), or Sam's Choice Chicken Bone Broth (Walmart).
- Shallot - traditional risotto calls for onion, but I used a shallot for this recipe because the beautiful purple color is so "fall;" and I was proud that this shallot was grown in our garden!
- Arborio rice - Arborio is also labeled "risotto rice" as some stores, and is a short-grain, high-starch rice that swells and becomes creamy as it is cooked. This is what Italians have traditionally used to make risotto for decades. Oh, and rice is gluten-free, so this is the ultimate comfort food that our gluten-free friends can enjoy!
- White wine - one of the nice things about the process of making risotto is enjoying a bit of the white wine that you put into the rice while you slowly stir the dish. It makes for such a lovely evening of cooking - whether you are cooking for yourself or with others!
- Parmesan cheese - a rich, aged, salty Parmesan adds the perfect finishing touch when folded into steaming hot risotto and then sprinkled on top for good measure. I love how the butter flakes of cheese melt slightly on top of the dish!
How to Make Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto
- Roast some squash - you'll need to peel and dice some butternut squash, then roast it with some simple olive oil and salt at a high temperature for 20-25 minutes. This will make the squash tender and slightly caramelized on the outside.
- Blend squash into the chicken stock - this will give the stock a gorgeous color and really amp up the flavor of butternut squash in your risotto.
- Your stock needs to be warm – if you want your risotto to cook evenly and be piping hot when you serve it, heat your stock in a small saucepan before starting to make the risotto. Keep it warm throughout the process of adding it to the rice.
- Stir, and stir some more. Stepping away for a minute or two isn’t a deal-breaker – I know, risotto is known for requiring you to stand over it and stir the whole time it cooks. And while a lot of stirring is necessary, your risotto will turn out fine if you need to take a minute or two to put something in the oven or grab a drink. Just add your ladle of stock before you step away, then stir it in when you return to the risotto.
- Taste for texture – after about 20-25 minutes of cooking, you want to taste your risotto to assess the texture. The rice should be tender to the bite but not mushy. The overall texture should be creamy with a medium thickness – not runny, but not so thick that it all sticks together in a mound.
Serving Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto
While this risotto is delicious and hearty on its own, there are a few main entrees that I love to serve alongside of it that would make for a really special meal. Here are some ideas:
- Flat Iron Steak with Maple Bourbon Espresso Sauce
- Miso Maple Roasted Salmon
- Pan-Seared Lamb Chops
- Pork Chop Skillet with Cranberry Apple Pan Sauce
- Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Apple Cider Gravy
And I'm sure you can think of some other delicious ways to serve it!
Are you ready to make this Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto? I’m so excited for you to try this recipe. Once you get the chance to make it, please let me know how it turns out for you! Leave a comment and rate the recipe below. This will help me with the creation of future recipes! I’d also love to feature your creation in my monthly newsletter, so you can upload a photo to Instagram or Twitter with the tag @sweetcayenne5 to be featured!
Butternut Squash Risotto
- 2 cups ½’’ diced butternut squash (half a medium squash)
- Olive oil and salt, for roasting
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped, about 2 tablespoons
- 1/2 cup arborio rice
- ¼ cup white wine
- ¼ cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste
- Aged balsamic vinegar, for serving
- Preheat oven to 425℉. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place butternut squash on the baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oi and ½ teaspoon of salt. Toss to evenly coat. Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway, until the squash is tender and easily pierced with a fork.
- Add 1 cup of the cooked squash to the 4 cups of chicken broth. Keep the remainder of the squash warm on a plate covered with foil.Use an blender or immersion blender to blend the roasted squash into the chicken stock. Transfer the blended mixture to a saucepan and place over medium-low heat with a ladle nearby.
- Place a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the butter and olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add the shallot. Saute until the shallots are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to combine. Add the wine, and stir continuously until the wine is mostly absorbed.
- Add one ladle of the chicken stock to the rice. Stir slowly until the stock has almost completely been absorbed before adding another ladle. Repeat this process ladle by ladle until the rice is tender and al dente. This should take about 30 minutes (you may or may not use all of the stock). The final texture of the risotto should be creamy and loose to the point where when you pull a spoon through the center, it fills back in within a few seconds (think the texture of silky stovetop mac and cheese).
- Once the risotto is finished, turn off the heat and stir in the reserved roasted squash and Parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, adding aged balsamic vinegar to the top if desired.
- Store leftovers in the fridge up to 5 days. To reheat, put a serving in the microwave with ¼ cup chicken stock or water on top. Microwave 2 minutes at 80% power, stir, then heat an additional minute.
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