This Butternut Squash Risotto is creamy, savory, and perfectly cooked with lots of Parmesan cheese, butternut squash, and kale. Serve it as a comforting main dish or as a side.
Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe
This creamy butternut squash risotto is packed with sweet butternut squash, nutrient-dense kale, fresh herbs, and Parmesan cheese, with a bit of a kick from the lemon juice and red chili flakes. It’s made with arborio rice, which has the perfect size and texture for a traditional risotto. But the key ingredient is the cubed butternut squash–deliciously sweet and caramelized to perfection.
How to Make Butternut Squash Risotto
Start by adding olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add butternut squash, salt, pepper, and chili powder and stir to coat. Cook until the squash turns golden brown and begins to caramelize (but don’t let it become mushy). Set the cooked squash aside.
Meanwhile, in a separate pot, keep vegetable or chicken stock warm.
Add onion to the skillet you used for the squash and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for another minute before adding the arborio rice. Sauté the rice with the onion and garlic for a minute or two, stirring frequently. Finally, add white wine and let everything cook, stirring continuously, until at least half of the wine has been reduced.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently add the warm broth in with the rice (a cup at a time). Gently stir and mix the broth with the rice as you combine them. Once the liquid is absorbed, add one more cup of broth to the rice. Continue until the rice reaches your desired consistency (I prefer “al dente” – about four cups of broth).
Stir in half and half, salt and pepper to taste, dried thyme, shredded cheese, and chopped kale and mix everything well. If it seems too thick, add an additional half a cup of warm broth. Cook on low until the kale is cooked and the seasoning fits your preference. Gently stir in the cooked squash and garnish the dish with additional red chili flakes, Parmesan cheese, and/or fresh lemon juice. Serve immediately (but the leftovers are also phenomenal!).
How to Serve
Serve this risotto immediately as a main course with an accompanying salad. You can also serve it with soup or alongside roasted veggies like asparagus and broccoli. It’s the perfect elevated weeknight dinner or dinner party/family gathering companion.
Storage and Freezing
This butternut squash risotto should keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to five days; however, risotto is always best enjoyed immediately. I don’t recommend freezing it as the consistency may change, but it will be safe to eat if frozen for up to two months.
What’s the Secret to Good Risotto?
It’s important to use short-grain rice (like the arborio variety this recipe calls for) when making risotto. It’s also crucial to take it slow and err on the side of overcooking (but know your texture preference and adjust accordingly!). Also, keep an eye on the temperature to avoid burning your risotto. Choose a mild, lightly seasoned variety of broth if possible.
Try making this easy Instant Pot Risotto with Butternut Squash!
More Butternut Squash Recipes
- Butternut Squash Tacos
- Air Fryer Butternut Squash
- Butternut Squash Salad
- Spiced Butternut Squash Chia Pudding
- Herb Roasted Butternut Squash
If you try making this Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
Butternut Squash Risotto
- 4 cups butternut squash - chopped into small cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt + pepper
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 yellow onion - diced
- 5 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine - optional
- 5 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 3 tablespoon half and half
- salt + pepper - to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ cup Asiago cheese or Parmesan cheese - shredded (or a combination of the two)- plus more for serving
- 2 cups fresh kale - finely chopped
- 2 lemons - cut into wedges (for serving)
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add butternut squash and stir to coat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and chili powder. Continue to cook over medium heat until squash is a nice golden brown and starting to caramelize just a bit (but not mushy), stirring frequently to prevent burning. Carefully remove to a plate and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a separate pot, warm up vegetable (or chicken) stock and keep warm.
- To the same skillet (that the butternut squash was cooked in) add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add the minced garlic to the onion and cook for an additional minute before stirring in the arborio rice. Sauté the rice with the onion and garlic for 1-2 minutes, stirring to prevent browning. Add the white wine and cook, stirring continuously, until at least half of the liquid has been reduced.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and gently stir in the warm vegetable broth with the rice, 1 cup at a time. Gently stir and mix in the broth with the rice as it is being added. Once the liquid is absorbed into the rice, add an additional 1 cup of broth to the rice. Continue with this method until rice reaches desired consistency- it should be done, but still have a bit of firmness left to it (in other words, el dente). I ended up using 4 full cups of broth.
- Stir in half and half, salt and pepper (to taste), dried thyme, shredded cheese and chopped kale. Mix well. If it seems to thick, add an additional 1/2 cup warm broth and gently mix to combine. Cook on low until kale is cooked and seasoning has been adjusted to your preference. Gently stir in the cook squash and garnish with additional red chili flakes or Parmesan cheese and fresh lemon juice.
- Serve immediately (although leftovers are also fantastic).
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)
Shiela Otter says
The best recipe ever I used the white pumpkin( our squash in the philippines.) I can eat this over and over again. I posted my picture of the finished product on my IG lala_1978
Jessica Randhawa says
Thanks for the kind comment Shiela 🙂
Larry H. says
I came to find your recipe which looked awesome. Great pictures as well. My son was coming by for dinner and I was looking for something a bit different and more vegetarian. It was easy to make, but a bit of attention while making it. The risotto was delicious-truly awesome! I sliced up some red & yellow bell peppers, slices of red onion with the arugula which is a favorite salad of mine.
Thanks so much for sharing.
Jessica Randhawa says
Thanks for the positive feedback Larry 🙂