Creamy risotto is total comfort food and this warming and hearty Butternut Squash Risotto is budget friendly and easy to adapt. Roasted chunks of butternut squash, creme fraiche and Parmesan all stirred in to rice for a delicious meal the whole family will love.
Risotto is a bit of a labour of love, as slow and low is the way forward for this dish - but it is totally worth it. It still only takes 40 minutes to make this Butternut Squash Risotto, and that means you get crispy chunks of butternut squash stirred in to that creamy risotto.
Top it with plenty of Parmesan and fresh herbs and you have your self a bowl of autumnal comfort food!
Why you will love it
- A delicious way to enjoy butternut squash - If you aren't really sure what to do with butternut squash, then this squash risotto is a great place to start. Roasting it makes it lovely and sweet.
- Budget friendly - Butternut squash is a great budget friendly ingredient to bulk out recipes. Although risotto rice is a little more expensive than other rice, this Butternut Squash Risotto is still a budget friendly recipe.
- Easy to adapt - Use this as a base recipe and feel free to adapt with extra vegetables or even add some meat.
- Low calories comfort food - There is less than 500 calories per portion and it's really filling.
- Butternut squash - This really is the star of the salad and it gets lovely and crispy. You could swap it for sweet potato if you prefer. There is no need to peel it, as the skin is actually delicious when roasted, you just have to make sure to clean it really, really well. We have lots of tips below on how to cut butternut squash, so don't be intimidated. It's easy!
- Rice - We used arborio rice as that gives the best creamy risotto. However, you could use another rice, but cooking times would vary and you wouldn't get the same results.
- Oil - Some olive oil to cook everything in.
- Shallots - These add a lovely sweetness, but you could use a small brown onion if you prefer.
- Garlic - Freshly crushed is best, however you could use garlic paste to save some time.
- Stock - Use a good quality chicken stock for a really rich flavour. You can use vegetable stock if you prefer. If making this for small children, then use a low salt stock.
- Wine - This adds a lovely richness to the butternut squash risotto recipe, however you could just swap it for more stock if you prefer.
- Creme fraiche - This adds some lovely extra creaminess to the chicken and pea risotto. You could swap it for cream cheese or quark if you prefer.
- Basil - This adds some nice freshness to the finished dish. You could swap it for parsley if you prefer.
- Parmesan - This adds so much extra creaminess and a hint of nuttiness too. You can use any cheese that melts well, like a mature cheddar or mozzarella (although this will make it very stringy).
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make butternut squash risotto - Step by step
One: Cut the butternut squash into cubes.
Two: Mix the squash with 1 tablespoon oil and roast at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for 40 minutes.
Three: Heat the oil in a large pan and cook shallots and garlic and gently cook for around 5 minutes, until soft.
Four: Add the rice and cook for 2-3 minutes, coating the rice in the oil.
Five: Add the wine and cook until most (but not all) has reduced.
Six: Add a ladle of stock and cook on simmer. Once most of the stock has reduced, add another ladle of stock. Keep repeating this a ladle at a time. This will take about 20-25 minutes and the rice should be cooked by then.
Seven: Stir in the butternut squash, creme fraiche, Parmesan and basil and season.
Eight: Mix Well.
Nine: Serve topped with more basil and pine nuts.
Roasted butternut squash really is the star of this dish, but that doesn't mean that you cant add plenty of other vegetables too. You could roast courgette, aubergine and bell pepper at the same time as the butternut squash and still it all in to the rice.
If you want to give this dish a green veggie boost, then stir in some spinach or peas a few minutes before serving. You could also serve it with some Crispy Kale Chips on top.
We sprinkled some fresh chopped basil on top, however I would recommend using sage if you can get it because it goes so well with butternut squash and creates an incredible butternut squash and sage risotto. You can fry it in butter first to really intensify the flavour.
Bacon makes everything better, right? Make a butternut squash and bacon risotto by grilling or frying some bacon and dicing it and stirring it in at the end. You could also add some shredded chicken to it for an easy meat addition.
We used parmesan as it goes really well with the butternut squash, but if you want to make a more indulgent butternut risotto that would be perfect for date night then add some crumbled stilton for a butternut squash and blue cheese risotto twist.
Preparing a butternut squash
I know they look a bit intimidating, especially if you have not chopped one up before, but it is actually pretty easy. First you want to chop off the top and bottom ends of the squash, so that both ends are flat.
Slice it in half around the middle and using a heavy duty peeler or knife, peel off the skin in downwards strokes. You want to peel until you see orange flesh (no green lines left).
Once you have peeled both halves, slice the flatter half in two to reveal the seeds. Take a spoon and scoop out the seeds (keep them to roast too – great as a snack). Chop the butternut squash in to cubes.
Read this full guide on How To Peel And Cut A Butternut Squash which takes you through the process step by step.
Make it vegan
It is super easy to make a vegan butternut squash risotto. Just use a vegan alternative to creme fraiche (we love Oatly) and use your favourite vegan Italian hard cheese alternative. Butternut squash is great in vegan dishes, as it is so creamy already.
You could even just add some olive oil instead of creme fraiche and use nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavour too. Or make it extra creamy by pureeing some of the roasted butternut squash and stirring that in. Make sure that you use a vegetable stock too.
What to serve with Butternut Squash Risotto
This is a really filling and hearty dish as it is, so you don't need to add much more too it. However, if you are serving it up to a few people that you could serve it with some homemade garlic bread and a big green salad like our Little Gem Salad.
If you want that creamy, classic risotto taste then you should use arborio rice, and that is what our method and cooking time is for. However, if you wanted to give this dish a nutrient boost, then you could swap it for brown rice. Please note that cooking times and nutritional values will vary though.
Risotto is always best made fresh, however if you do have some leftover then you can store it covered in the fridge for up to two days. Make sure that you follow food safety guidelines for cooked rice - do not leave it at room temperature and cool it very quickly. You then need to make sure to reheat it fully before serving.We wouldn't recommend freezing risotto, because the rice becomes really hard when frozen and the texture just isn't right when it is defrosted and reheated.
To reheat, preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Place the cold risotto in an oven proof dish, and add a liquid like white wine, stock or simply water - just enough to loosen the rice. You can add a knob of butter too if desired. Bake for around 10 minutes until heated through, stirring every 2 minutes.
Whilst the butternut squash risotto is cooking, leave the lid off. However, we recommend putting the lid on for a couple of minutes once finished cooking, as this will allow it to get the perfect texture.
• You could swap the arborio rice for brown rice for extra nutrition, however it would change the cooking time.
• Don't skip frying the rice before adding the stock, as this is important for the final consistency of the dish.
• You could roast some aubergine, pepper and courgette along with the butternut squash.
• Give this dish a veggie boost by stirring in some spinach before serving.
• Make this vegan by using a vegan creme fraiche alternative and a vegan Italian hard cheese.
• If you love garlic, then add a whole bulb at the same time as roasting the butternut squash and then squeeze the roasted garlic in to the risotto.
• Add extra creaminess by blending some of the roasted butternut squash and stirring it in.
• You can swap the basil for sage.
• We wouldn't recommend freezing risotto.
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Butternut Squash Risotto
- 270 g arborio rice
- 1 butternut squash - cubed and roasted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 shallots - diced
- 3 garlic cloves - crushed
- 1000 ml vegetable stock
- 150 ml white wine
- 4 tablespoon creme fraiche
- 2 tablespoon fresh basil - chopped (plus some extra for serving)
- 50 g parmesan - grated
- sea salt and black pepper - for seasoning
- pine nuts - to serving
- Cut the butternut squash into cubes.1 butternut squash
- Mix the squash with 1 tablespoon oil and roast at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for 40 minutes1 tablespoon olive oil
- Heat the remaining oil in a large pan and cook shallots and garlic and gently cook for around 5 minutes, until soft.1 tablespoon olive oil, 4 shallots, 3 garlic cloves
- Add the rice and cook for 2-3 minutes, coating the rice in the oil.270 g arborio rice
- Add the wine and cook until most (but not all) has reduced.150 ml white wine
- Add a ladle of stock and cook on simmer. Once most of the stock has reduced, add another ladle of stock. Keep repeating this a ladle at a time. This will take about 20-25 minutes and the rice should be cooked by then.1000 ml vegetable stock
- Stir in the butternut squash, creme fraiche, Parmesan and basil and season.1 butternut squash, 4 tablespoon creme fraiche, 2 tablespoon fresh basil, 50 g parmesan, sea salt and black pepper
- Mix well.
- Top with more basil and pine nuts.pine nuts
- You could swap the arborio rice for brown rice for extra nutrition, however it would change the cooking time.
- You could roast some aubergine, pepper and courgette along with the butternut squash.
- Give this dish a veggie boost by stirring in some spinach before serving.
- Make this vegan by using a vegan creme fraiche alternative and a vegan Italian hard cheese.
- Add extra creaminess by blending some of the roasted butternut squash and stirring it in.
- We wouldn't recommend freezing risotto.
- You can swap the basil for sage.