Tuesday 4 January 2011

Butternut Squash risotto

 I didn't grow this one, I bought it, but I needed something with which to illustrate this post!

Lots of bloggers have been writing recently about the need to use up squashes and pumpkins kept in storage since the Autumn. Whilst I don't have this problem (since I didn't grow any squashes last year), I do have a recipe suggestion - Butternut Squash risotto. This is a recipe that Jane has been making for us occasionally for some years, inspired originally by an article in a magazine. I imagine it would work with most varieties of squash, not just the Butternut.

About 1.75 litres good stock (vegetable or chicken)
500g risotto rice (e.g. Arborio)
500g flesh of Butternut or other suitable squash / pumpkin
1 large onion
125g butter
75g Parmesan cheese
1 large red chilli
8 - 10 sage leaves, finely shredded

  • Heat the stock to a gentle simmer in a large saucepan
  • Chop the onion finely and cook it slowly in another saucepan, using half of the butter, until soft, but not brown (approx 10 mins?)
  • Meanwhile, chop the squash flesh into cubes of about 2cm
  • De-seed and chop the chilli, add it to the onion
  • Add the squash and cook until it begins to soften (approx 5 mins?)
  • Add the rice, ensuring that it is well coated with the butter
  • Cook for about 2 minutes to toast the grains of rice
  • Now begin adding the stock in small quantities (maybe use a ladle for this)
  • As you add each ladleful, stir the mixture for a minute or so, until it has been absorbed by the rice
  • Keep the whole thing simmering gently throughout, not boiling, and don't let it either dry out or get swamped (patience is key here!)
  • Keep cooking the mixture until the rice is tender and creamy but not mushy (approx 20 mins?). By this time the squash should also be very soft, so stir gently so as not to break it up too much
  • NB: you may not need to use all the stock; or you may need to use more (in emergency, substitute boiling water) - it just depends on your rice
  • When the rice is ready, taste the dish and amend the seasoning if required
  • Stir in the remaining butter, the sage and the Parmesan cheese
  • Cover and allow to stand for 3 or 4 minutes before serving (this lets the flavour of the sage permeate, and the butter and cheese fully melt).
  • Garnish with more red chilli if liked

Serving suggestion
I recommend you serve this dish with some ciabatta bread (home-made if poss), a crisp green salad (home-grown if poss), and a nice light white wine - maybe a Frascati, or a Pinot Grigio.


  1. Porridge or risotto are good for people who have heavy stomach feeling after carousing during the New year holidays like me!

  2. This is on of Cook's favourites. She likes to roast the pumpkin cubes in the oven. She then keeps some back to toss through at the end. The pumpkin added early breaks up and turns the rissotto yellow and the ones put in last stay whole. Looks great and tastes fantastic.

  3. Hazel; I have to agree with your Cook - roasting the squash does give it a greater depth of flavour, and adding some roasted chunks to the risotto just before serving would be brilliant. What about roasted Butternut squash soup? Do you have that? Produces a great result for very little effort.

  4. I love butternut squash, and made a similar risotto a couple of weeks ago. The squash was roasted and added later, and I used a little saffron in the rice for color. Butternut squash soup, and butternut ravioli with a sage and brown butter sauce is very popular here too! ;)

  5. See also the recipe for Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry on my "Recipes" page...

  6. Hi Mark, thanks for the visit to my blog...yes, Queen of Seaford, but not English... :-)
    Thanks for the heads up on the Mexican oregano. I will check with fer and see what he has to say.
    Love your baby worm pics, I have a worm bin in my storage room--- they have slowly been pro-creating, wish they would speed it up a little.

  7. Another butternut squash risotto lover here. I usually roast the squash. Sometimes I mash half of what I've roasted and stir a little bit of stock into the mix to make it like a paste and then stir this into the risotto - makes it a lovely colour and then add the rest of the roasted cubes when I'm about to serve it.

  8. ... oops also meant to add that I've never successfully grown butternut squash. I tried once a few years back and got several squashes (is that the plural!?) and was quite excited, but they tasted absolutely lousy - really, really bland. A friend had a similar experience last year. Have you had any luck with them?

  9. Hi Charlotte; I have only once grown Butternut squash, and then my plant produced only two mature fruit, which I didn't consider to be a good use of space (especially when Butternuts are cheap to buy). These days I hasve switched to growing marrows. In my very small plot, the trailing squashes take up too much room to be viable.


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