Butternut Squash Risotto

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

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 / Reviews

  • 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!

  • jacomien

    This looks very much like the risotte I made last week… I can recommend stirring in some (soft) goat cheese before serving. I think you can leave the butter out then. Yum!

  • missb

    Ooooh…this is my very, very, very favorite early fall dish. gets me all excited about the cool weather. For a variant, I start with frying up some pancetta or even just plain bacon then draining off some of grease and sauteeing the sweet onion in it. I stir the crumbled bacon in with the cheese. And I always end up adding even MORE parmesean! SO naughty.

  • Michele

    Can this be made with squash puree? It sounds wonderful!

  • Lauren

    I made this dish tonight and it was a big success. Next time I will chop the butternut squash in larger pieces.
    I also used 6 C of vegetable stock. I forgot to put in the last tablespoon of butter. And I didn’t use chives.
    Will make again.

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