Our Butternut Squash Risotto is the perfect Fall comfort food – The flavor from the nutty squash combines with the creaminess of the risotto to make a show-stopping dish you will want to eat every night!
Now, I know most people are intimidated when they see the name RISOTTO! Ahhh! But guys, calm down, it may look and taste like it was made at a 5 star restaurant but I assure you this recipe is VERY simple! We even provide you with a step-by-step tutorial with photos below to help you out. You just need to ensure that the level of heat stays consistent and that you stir constantly and you will come out with a delicious risotto every time.
I love adding new recipes to my Fall line-up, I mean you can never have enough comfort foods in your recipe box right?
Most people will think of soups and stews for a classic comfort food, like my Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup (go on, check it out and make that this week too…it makes a ton so you can have leftovers) but I think you will start to add in this risotto once you have had a taste.
Versatile dinner recipe
One of the amazing things about this recipe is that you can really customize it to your mood and what you have in the fridge. Want Asparagus Risotto instead? Sure, no problem, cut and steam the asparagus and throw it in.
Wanna make it a Mushroom Risotto? Yep, go ahead, do a quick satuee to the mushrooms of your choice and add em in! Do you see the pattern?
Now this recipe is ESPECIALLY delicious as it features one of my favorite Fall ingredients- Butternut Squash. Oh ya, I can see you drooling already! And thankfully it makes enough to serve 6-8 people so you can go back for seconds! (Trust me, you’ll be sneaking spoonfuls as you pack up the leftovers).
Mr. Olive has been making me different risotto dishes since our wedding night when we served an incredible Asparagus Risotto to our 250 guests…well the hall prepared and served it, we all just devoured it!
I asked him a number of years ago to incorporate squash into the risotto one night instead of our usual asparagus variation and I was not disappointed. This is now our go-to flavor choice when making this classic comfort food all winter long.
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Frequently asked Questions
I know you guys probably have a few questions before you get started with making your dish, so I want to make sure I take some time to answer the most common ones. There is nothing worse than not being prepared before making a recipe for the first time…am I right?
Can you make risotto without wine?
Yes! Wine is not a mandatory ingredient in any risotto dish, though it does add a nice punch of flavor thanks to the acidity. If you don’t want to use wine in yours you can simply add some lemon juice or a white wine vinegar in place of it, or you can leave it out all together and just increase your broth by that little amount.
What is the best rice for risotto?
This is a non-negotiable for me- it HAS TO BE Arborio rice. Some people will tell you to use any Italian variety but personally we have found that the Arborio rice is the perfect choice.
It holds up well to the constant stirring and brings the right amount of starchiness to the pan (which is what gives you all that creamy texture in your risotto). It is also a fairly common short grain rice that you should be able to find at any local grocery store.
What can I add to risotto?
Friends, the possibilities here really are endless! As I mentioned above we have done asparagus, mushrooms and of course our butternut risotto.
You can do a simple cheese risotto using just Parmesan and Romano cheese. You can also use almost any veggie you can think of- broccoli, cauliflower, turnip, parsnip etc.
Your mind is the limit when it comes to what you choose to put into it, just keep in mind that you always want to take care of your added in veggie ahead of time; either steam, roast, blanch etc. This will make adding it to your risotto an easier process and keep it from separating.
What goes well with butternut squash?
Butternut Squash is a subtle, nutty flavored squash variety that really goes well with a number of different dishes, that’s why it is so perfect in a risotto recipe. You can serve it with a nice crusty bread or along side some roasted chicken to make it a full dinner party menu.
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When making your risotto there are two things you want to make sure you have on hand; a really good sturdy wooden spoon and a heavy bottom skillet. Both are so important in making sure your temperature is right and you can get the right consistency.
Step by step making of butternut squash risotto
Once your squash is roasted and your broth is coming to a low simmer cook onions over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add in garlic .
Add in Arborio Rice and toast for 2 minutes.
Add wine to toasted rice and give a stir until absorbed. Turn heat down to medium-low.
Add broth 2 ladles at a time to cover the rice- stir constantly until it is almost all absorbed. Repeat until rice is no longer crunchy and is perfectly creamy.
Add in mashed butternut squash along with Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste.
Things to Keep in mind with Risotto
Okay, so remember I said it was very easy to make and you just had to keep a couple things in mind? Well let’s go over that again just to make sure you get the perfect risotto the first time!
- Heat consistency is KEY! You will want to use a heavy bottom pan to keep the heat even throughout the cooking process. This goes for your pot that is simmering with your broth too!
- Stir, stir, stir! Make sure you use a good wooden spoon for this! Why? Well it will not conduct heat, meaning it is neutral in your pan (doesn’t mess with the heat consistency mentioned above). You can also use a silicone spatula if you prefer, but I love the feel of the wooden spoon for stirring the risotto, it really moves it around!
- Milkiness is key! Once you add your liquid (which you add slowly) you want to see the milky starch as you stir. This shows that you are doing it right, and your risotto is coming together perfectly.
- You don’t need a $40 bottle of wine! People often skip over recipes that call for the use of wine as they think they need to go out and buy an expensive bottle just to dump into their dish…now, yes there are SOME dishes where you want to do this (where the wine is really the star flavor maker) but not in this case! Do you know what we do? Open the fridge and grab whatever dry white wine is sitting there from our last date night…yep!
If you made this recipe please be sure to rate it, leave us a comment below and let us know what you thought!!
Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe
- 1 Onion chopped
- 4 Cloves of Garlic chopped
- 1 Butternut Squash 1.5lb roasted and mashed
- 1/4 c Butter
- 6 c Vegetable Stock we use the stock cubes a mix our own, more cost effective!!
- 2 c Arborio Rice make sure it says Arborio and NOT Italian!
- 1 c Dry White Wine
- Zest of half a Lemon
- 1/4 c Parmesan Cheese
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Prepare your squash (roast and mash) and set aside for later. *You can do this a couple of days in advance and keep in your fridge until ready to use.
- Over medium-low heat bring your stock to a very gentle simmer in a medium pot (this is key, NOT boiling)
- In large pan melt butter over medium heat, add in onions and a pinch of salt. Allow to sweat until they are almost translucent. Add in garlic and stir, add in your rice to toast (about 2 minutes) make sure you are stirring from here on out…do not stop!
- Add wine and stir until completely absorbed. Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Now you will begin to add your broth a couple of ladles at a time. You want to add enough to cover the rice, and make sure you are stirring constantly to absorb. You will notice a beautiful creamy consistency begin to form.
- Repeat the above step until your broth is gone or your rice is no longer crunchy (about 30 minutes…This will create the creamy consistency everyone loves with risotto!
- Lastly, add in your mashed squash, parmesan and the lemon zest. Stir until everything is mixed. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
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Well guys, that’s it! I told you it was a simple dish to make! You won’t believe the flavors in this one when you make it. And guess what? It is even BETTER the next day! Enjoy!