February 6, 2012

Butternut Squash Risotto - A Labor of Love

I made a trip to Trader Joe's this weekend and bought some inexpensive (because it's normally expensive) Arborio rice.  This is a short grain, starchy rice that is traditionally used in risotto recipes because of the amazing creamy texture the starch creates.

So with Arborio rice in hand, I tackled the intensive Butternut Squash Risotto.

A major draw back to this recipe: peeling and chopping a butternut squash.  It's not at all easy.  In fact, it can be downright dangerous (I almost lost a few fingers several times).  You can always buy frozen chopped butternut squash if you enjoy having 10 fingers.

With all fingers (barely) in tact, it was finally time for the real labor intensive part:

Continuously for 20 minutes.  Note to self: always have someone to talk to or entertain you during this part. 

But after all the blood, sweat and tears, the end product??


That pretty much sums it up.  

This is truly one of my all-time favorite meals that I make - and even though it's a pain in the butt, it's so totally worth it when you taste the sweet, savory, creamy, and delicious risotto. 

A true labor of love.   

Love and Kale,

Butternut Squash, Sage & Chile Risotto

This is an amazingly delicious, comforting risotto.  It tastes so rich and creamy, you would swear there was some naughtiness in there - but there's not!  No cheese, no butter - just natural deliciousness.  The squash breaks down a bit during the cooking process, adding a thickness and creaminess to the risotto.  A little sweetness from the butternut squash is balanced by the slight spice of red pepper flakes.  Perfection.

Print here.
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium onion, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced (2 ½ cups)
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste (I used a bit more)
  • 2 cups Arborio Rice
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage (or 2 tsp poultry seasoning)
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance 

  1. Pour broth into medium saucepan.  Bring to a simmer – keep at a gentle simmer. 
  2. Add 4 tbsp of veggie broth in a large heavy saucepan. Add onion, carrot. celery and garlic and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in crushed red pepper (and poultry seasoning if you're not using fresh sage) and cook 1 more minute. 
  3. Add squash and cook 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until it softens slightly. 
  4. Stir in rice. Cook for a few minutes to toast the grains. 
  5. Begin adding the broth, a ladle-ful at a time, stirring gently until each one has been absorbed.  Continue stirring until rice is tender and creamy, but the grains are still firm – this should take about 20 minutes (it also serves as your arm workout for the day!). 
  6. Remove from heat and stir in sage (if using) and 2 tbsp of Earth Balance (optional - I omit it, but if you're just starting out, use it).


  1. This looks fabulous Ann! I am definitely going to make this dish.....great source of carbs and anti-oxidants!

    1. In my opinion, it's well worth the effort! And quite impressive to make for guests too! You're so right about the anti-oxidants - not to mention the loads of Vitamin A, C, even some iron and calcium! Gotta love those veggies :)

  2. I just made this for supper and it is amazing! Even with no dairy it seems cheesy and creamy. I didn't want to stop eating. The stirring time went by pretty fast too and was more than worth it!

    1. So glad you liked it Kristi! It's def one of my favorite dishes :)