This post is sponsored by Village Harvest. All thoughts and opinions are my own 🙂
I love winter. I know I’m in the minority, but when it snows I say “bust out the snow gear and let’s go play!” One of the many reasons why I love winter besides snow are all the wonderful winter vegetables in season. Squash is a great source of vitamins and can be absolutely delicious when cooked right. Butternut Squash Risotto is a classic Italian rice and cheese dish made with Arborio rice that originated anciently in northern Italy and is still grown there today.
Arborio rice is a medium grain white rice that cooks up tender and sticky. It originated in northern Italy and is still grown there today. Village Harvest Arborio rice is “superfino” grade ~ the highest quality available on the market. I ended up created two different risotto recipes using Village Harvest Arborio rice and they were both fantastic.
I found that Village Harvest Arborio Rice made the foundation for a perfectly cooked, creamy risotto. Turns out it’s harvested in Northern Italy where the climate is cool and the soil is marshy, the perfect environment for growing great tasting rice. Arborio rice grains slowly and evenly release starch while absorbing liquids (like broth) to create the warm, creamy comfort food known as Italian risotto. Add in the creamy texture of cooked squash and parmesan cheese, and you have comfort food that deserves a place next to spaghetti and meatballs in the halls of comfort food fame.
Traditional risotto requires constant stirring and adding of hot broth over a hot stove for the entire recipe, which usually can take as long as 40 minutes! This recipe cuts much of that time out and gives your arm a break. I created this dish in a large cast iron skillet but a stovetop dutch oven would be great too. Whatever dish you use, be sure it’s a big one, this recipe makes up LOTS of risotto, enough for 10-12 sides or about 8 main course servings.
The first time you work with a whole butternut squash can be a challenge. Peel the entire outside, and hold on tight, it can be slippery. Lay it on it’s side and trim the stem and bottom off. Chop it in half where the bulbous end and the skinnier neck meet. Scoop out the seeds and threads and discard them. Dice the flesh into small cubes. I like to check the produce section at my local grocery store if they have some squash already peeled and chopped. It saves me tons of time.
Be sure to give Village Harvest Arborio rice a try the next time you have a craving for risotto. Stay cozy and warm this winter and make some Butternut Squash Risotto to enjoy with family and friends!Print
Butternut Squash Risotto
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
This recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto is a classic recipe that uses a modern cooking method to cut down on laborious stirring time over the stove. Fresh and delicious this dish can be served as a side or as a vegetarian main course.
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch chunks (about 3 and 1/2 cups)
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 5–6 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 medium cloves of garlic (minced or pressed)
- 2 cups Village Harvest Arborio Superfino Rice for Risotto
- 1 Tablespoon White wine vinegar
- 1 and 1/2 ounces of Parmesan Cheese or Italian blend cheese, grated (3/4 cup)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh minced sage leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Heat olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add the squash in an even layer and leave it alone to brown on one side, about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and stir occasionally for another 5 minutes longer or the squash is tender and browned on several sides. Remove to a bowl and set aside for later.
- In a large sauce pan, heat the broth to a simmer and turn the heat to medium low and cover to maintain the simmer so it stays hot while you continue with the recipe.
- Add 3 Tablespoons of butter to the hot empty skillet and add in the minced onion. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until soft and just beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. While the onion cooks, heat the broth to a simmer in a large sauce and turn the heat to medium low and cover to maintain the simmer.
- When the onion is cooked, add in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then add in the uncooked rice and saute until the tips of the rice become transparent, about 3 minutes. Add in 4 cups of hot broth, vinegar and 1/2 the cooked squash. Stir and cook, mashing the squash with a fork until the liquids are completely absorbed by the rice, around 15 minutes.
- Stir in another 1/2 cup of broth, stirring constantly until it is absorbed. Repeat this process with more broth until the rice is al dente (taste a bit to see). Remove from heat.
- Off heat stir in the chopped sage, remaining Tablespoon butter, cheese and nutmeg, then carefully fold in the remaining squash. Add additional broth if necessary if the rice becomes overly clumpy/sticky. Serve immediately.
Stir from the outside of the pan to the center to avoid spills. If you get lucky you may find a package of peeled diced butternut squash chunks ready to go in the produce section of your grocery store. If you want a vegetarian version, simply switch out the chicken broth for vegetable broth.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: side dish
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 12 sides or 6 main course
I love risotto dishes, but have never made my own. I am definitely giving this one a try this Winter! YUM!
You won’t regret it Dawn 🙂 Thanks for the comment!
I can’t wait to try this. Did you add pomegranate seeds to the top?
Hi Linda! I did add pomegranate seeds in my photos for a little extra fun :0) It is a delicious recipe~ I think you’ll love it. Make sure to invite some friends over to share it with, it really makes a ton of Risotto!