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Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sage

butternut squash risotto in white bowl with fork

This risotto with butternut squash and sage is the perfect autumn dinner. It’s flavorful, comforting, and easier to make than you might guess. The butternut squash roasts in the oven while the rice cooks down in a sage-infused broth, filling your kitchen with sweet and savory aromas that let you know fall has arrived. If making risotto intimidates you, I hope this recipe convinces you to give it a shot! Risotto is a simple dish to master despite its finicky reputation, and it’s endlessly adaptable.

Risotto is one of my go-to dinners for entertaining because, well, who doesn’t love creamy rice? Once you get the basic method down (I’ve included a few tips below), it’s hard to resist the temptation to riff. We had this version to bid farewell to friends before they moved out of state, and I think it’s safe to say it was a hit. On a slightly crisp evening, it was the perfect way to warm up while we enjoyed the meal and company on the patio. To max out on the autumnal vibes, I served this risotto with butternut squash and sage with a version of my favorite autumn salad with maple vinaigrette. Recreate this meal at home to celebrate the official arrival of fall!

Foolproof Tips for Making Risotto

These tips apply to any risotto you might make. I hope they demystify the process and inspire you to make risotto, including this one with butternut squash and sage, a part of your life.

  1. Prepare all your ingredients in advance. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it makes a big difference. The first steps move in quick succession, so it’s important to chop your onions, measure out your rice and wine, and heat your broth before you get cooking.
  2. Keep your broth hot. For best results, your broth should stay at a very gentle simmer as you cook the rice. This ensures the rice will cook evenly and quickly, and keeps you from spending too much time over a hot stove.
  3. Stir often, but not constantly. It’s a well-circulated myth that you need to stir risotto constantly as it cooks. Just a few stirs per ladleful of broth will do. Perhaps the most important stirring tip is to make sure you’re reaching the bottom layer when you stir — otherwise you’ll end up with burnt rice at the bottom of your pan!

How to Make Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sage

butternut squash in bowl, arborio rice, chopped onions, and block of parmigiano cheese

This risotto with butternut squash and sage comes together in just under an hour, and is not as involved as you might think.

  1. Roast the butternut squash. The cubed butternut squash will roast at a high temperature for 20-30 minutes, freeing up counter space while you prepare the rice.
  2. Heat your broth with a few sage leaves. The broth should remain at a gentle simmer as you cook down the rice.
  3. Sauté chopped onions and sage in olive oil and butter. This takes about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add rice to onions and “toast.” Stir the rice to coat evenly with the olive oil and butter. Allow rice to “toast” for a minute or two, stirring once. The rice should take on a slightly golden color, and you can move on to the next step.
  5. Add white wine. Allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes until the wine is almost completely evaporated.
  6. Add a ladleful of broth, stir, repeat. Add about 1/2 cup of broth at a time. Stir once immediately upon adding, and once or twice more as you allow the rice to absorb each batch of broth. Once the broth has been fully absorbed, add another. Continue to follow this pattern for about twenty minutes, at which point the rice should be tender, still slightly firm, and creamy.
  7. Remove rice from heat and add Parmigiano and butter. This is one of the most important steps, and it gives the risotto its characteristic richness.
  8. Divide among plates, garnish, and serve! Divide the risotto, top with butternut squash and sage leaves, and enjoy.

If you make this risotto, please let me know in the comments below how it turned out for you! You can also tag your creations on Instagram at @a_tavola_kitchen. I look forward to hearing from you!

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Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sage

This risotto with butternut squash and sage is perfect for entertaining or for a cozy night in. Comforting and delicious, it’s sure to become an autumn staple.

  • Author: A Tavola Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop and Oven
  • Cuisine: Italian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 56 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 small butternut squash, diced into 1/2 inch pieces (about 11.5 lb) 
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided 
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided (I recommend salted)
  • 1 cup chopped white onion (from 1 onion)
  • 10 sage leaves (5 chopped and 5 whole), plus more for garnishing
  • 2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice 
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano 
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste 
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare your ingredients: dice the squash, chop the onions and sage, and measure out the rice and wine.
  2. Place diced butternut squash on a baking sheet and season with 1 tbsp olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until fork-tender and slightly browned. Once ready, turn off the oven and keep the squash warm in the oven with the residual heat from roasting.
  3. Meanwhile, bring broth to a simmer over medium heat. Add 5 fresh sage leaves to broth for additional flavor. Cover and keep hot at a very gentle simmer over low heat.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a large, heavy saucepan or wide-bottomed pot over medium-heat. Add onions and chopped sage leaves and sauté about 3 minutes, until onions are tender and slightly translucent. 
  5. Add the rice and stir to coat. Allow rice to “toast” for a couple minutes, stirring once or twice. (The rice should take on a slightly golden hue, but even if it doesn’t move on to the next step after 2-3 minutes.)
  6. Add wine and stir once. Allow wine to simmer down and mostly evaporate, about 3 minutes. 
  7. Add a ladleful (or about 1/2 cup) of broth to the rice and stir occasionally until absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook the rice by adding a ladleful of broth at a time, stirring and allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding the next.
  8. Repeat step 7 until rice is tender but still has some bite to it, about 20 minutes total.
  9. Remove from heat and stir in Parmigiano, remaining tablespoon of butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. 
  10. Divide among bowls, top with roasted butternut squash, and garnish with additional sage leaves.

Notes

  • If you’re nervous about the timing of roasting the squash and cooking the rice simultaneously, you could roast the squash before you begin making the risotto. Then you could just warm it in the oven at 250 or 300 degrees while you cook the rice. 
  • This recipe scales down very easily, but I don’t think anyone will mind the leftovers.
  • Recipe adapted from a cooking class I took in Italy and Giada De Laurentiis’ basic risotto tips.
CategoriesDinner Vegetarian

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