Butternut Squash Risotto

By Chef Dan Insogna

When I think of the fall, the first thing that comes to mind is something that will warm you up on a brisk autumn day. The weather may be getting colder but you can enhance your fall farmer’s market bounty with these fruits and vegetables that are very popular around this time of year: pumpkin, cabbage, carrots, butternut squash, apples and sweet potatoes. They offer a range of colors, flavors and textures and are great to use in roasts, stews, pies and soups. Not only are these selections delicious, but good for you as well. Many fall vegetables contain vitamins and fiber so you can keep a healthy lifestyle year round!          


Because you have to be patient, making risotto is a labor of love, but it isn’t hard. In these days of waning sunlight, allow the seasonal offerings to take a basic risotto recipe, give it an autumnal twist and enjoy the comfort food of fall.




1 quart chicken stock

2 tablespoons extra-virgin

olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, grated or chopped

2 cups Arborio rice

1 cup dry white wine

1 medium butternut squash peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes  

Ground cinnamon to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons butter

7 or 8 leaves fresh sage, slivered

1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano




Bring stock to a simmer in a sauce pot then reduce heat

to low.


Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil. When oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and soften 2 to 3 minutes. Add squash and cook until al dente. Add rice and toast 2 to 3 minutes more. Add wine and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle in stock in intervals, a couple of ladles at a time. Allow liquids to evaporate each time. Risotto will cook 20 minutes total from the first addition of liquid. Season with cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste. In the last minute of cooking, stir in butter, sage leaves and cheese. 

Serve immediately.