Butternut Squash Risotto

Creamy butternut squash risotto recipe, perfect for autumn. Arborio rice, slowly cooked in broth, with onion, butternut squash, white wine, butter, Parmesan and chives.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Our next door neighbor Pat has a wonderfully productive garden where she grows much of her own food. We are the lucky beneficiaries of her overflow in times when, for example, she has harvested 15 large butternut squash and there are still 15 more on the vine.

No matter how much Pat loves winter squash, even she knows that she can’t eat all thirty of them by herself. Yikes!

Here’s a lovely risotto we made recently with about half of one butternut squash that Pat brought over. (The other half went into pumpkin bread.)

The risotto is so simple, with arborio rice, squash, broth, onions, white wine, and Parmesan; it just takes a bit of attention (stirring) while the rice slowly absorbs the broth.

Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

We are serving this with chopped chives, but you could also crisp up a few fresh sage leaves in simmering butter, then crumble them into the risotto.


  • 6 cups (1.4 liters) chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option, and gluten-free stock for gluten-free version)
  • 5 Tbsp (70g) unsalted butter, divided into 4 Tbsp (56g) and 1 Tbsp (14g)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 cups (240g) butternut squash, peeled, and finely diced (1/4-1/2 inch)
  • 2 cups (400g) arborio rice (can substitute medium grained white rice, but arborio is preferred)
  • 1 cup (236 ml) dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 oz, 40g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 Tbsp chopped chives or garlic chives
  • Salt


1 Heat broth in medium sized saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

2 Cook onion and squash in butter: Melt 4 Tbsp of butter in a large saucepan; add onion and butternut squash. Cook over medium heat until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

3 Add rice: Add arborio rice to onion and squash. Cook 1 to 2 minutes.

4 Add wine: Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly until wine has been absorbed by the rice or evaporated.

5 Start adding broth a ladle at a time, allowing rice to absorb broth: Add a few ladles of broth, just enough to barely cover rice. Cook over medium heat until broth has been absorbed.

Continue cooking, stirring rice enough to keep it from sticking to the pan, adding a little bit of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until the liquid is absorbed, and the rice is tender but still firm to the bite, about 15 to 20 minutes.

6 During the last minutes of cooking, add remaining tablespoon of butter, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and chives. At this point the rice should have a creamy consistency. Add salt to taste. (The amount of salt you add will depend on how salty your broth was to begin with. I usually add at least a teaspoon of salt, sometimes more.)

Serve with remaining grated Parmesan.

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Adapted from a recipe by Biba Caggiano, published in the Sacramento Bee, May 1988.


Video of Chef Biba making risotto

Saffron Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash from Dana of Proof of the Pudding

Butternut Squash Risotto

Showing 4 of 48 Comments

  • johanna

    I have made so much butternut squash risotto lately, it’s almost insane. I bake my squash first, though, just as it is, pop in the oven for 45 minutes and worry about the (easy) peeling later. It finds its way into my risotto half pureed, half diced – and when I really want to indulge, I stir in some diced gorgonzola for good measure… mmmh!

  • Tracy

    I just made this again with a mixture of butternut and acorn squashes (about 2 c. roasted and mashed), added after the wine, for the sole purpose of having leftovers for baked arancini (breadcrumb coating, mozzarella filling). Fabulous!

  • Jacky Hackett

    Oh goodness was this good! I softened the squash by cooking it in the broth for about 5 mintues, worked well. Thank you!

  • Tracy

    I had half of a butternut squash leftover after making Everyday Food’s squash and sage cannelloni, and this was the perfect way to use it!

    I agree with previous commenters about par-cooking the squash ahead of time. My 1/4-inch dice (which I thought would be plenty small) could have been just a bit softer, but I didn’t want to over-cook the rice.

    The dish was delicious though, and I have enough squash left to try your squash with browned butter and thyme! Thanks!

  • Heather

    This is a wonderful fall dish. I made this as a side dish for an Apple Cider Roasted Pork Tenderloin; the flavors worked so well together. My guests raved about the creamy texture and wonderful buttery flavor of the squash. One reccomendation in terms of the squash; I would soften the squash a bit before adding to the risotto. I had to cook the squash a bit longer to make sure the squash was tender. It still worked, but next time I will throw the squash in the oven with some olive oil for just a few minutes. I will definately add this to my staple for my fall/winter specialties.

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