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Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto



Slightly sweet and nutty, this risotto recipe is one of my favorites. If butternut squash is in season, I always make sure I include this recipe when I teach a risotto class. People usually like it a lot!
Also, nowadays we hear a lot the concept “Meatless Monday”… I don’t necessarily cook vegetarian food every Monday, but I think that this is a great recipe for those who like the idea of eating without any kind of meat once a week or more. The reason why? This risotto is rich, decadent, and the cubed butternut squash have a meaty texture that replaces the meat texture well.
Finally, I want to encourage you to try making risotto the traditional way – which means standing next to the stove and stirring pretty much constantly for a perfect al dente rice texture. Believe me, it’s more fun than you think; especially when wine and friends are involved ;) Happy fall!

Serves 4


  • 1 medium butternut squash (approximately 2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 to 6 cups vegetable broth, preferably home-made
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sage, finely chopped
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ to ½ cup (to taste) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut flesh into ¾ -inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place 3 cups of squash on a sheet pan and toss with brown sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Remove from oven, allow cooling for 10 minutes. Place into food processor or blender; purée until creamy, 20 to 30 seconds. Remove purée from food processor and set aside.

In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the remaining cubed butternut squash. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Place vegetable broth into a medium sauce pan and bring to a light boil. Turn heat to medium-low and keep warm over stove top.

In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, place remaining olive oil. When oil starts sizzling, add onions and sage. Cook until onions are soft, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Add Arborio rice, stirring well to coat. Add white wine and cook, stirring, until it evaporates, about 40 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-low and add half ladle of warm vegetable broth. Keep stirring constantly. When broth has been nearly absorbed, add another half ladle of broth and keep stirring. Repeat process until broth is finished, about 20 to 22 minutes. At this point, rice texture should be al dente. Remove from heat and fold in butter, butternut squash purée, and cubed butternut squash. Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and serve immediately.


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