Butternut Squash Risotto

Today, our month of meatless meals continues with this Spanish-inspired butternut squash risotto. Bonus: It’s also gluten free! Phoebe from Feed Me Phoebe shows us how it’s done…

Butternut Squash Risotto
by Phoebe Lapine of Feed Me Phoebe

Risotto gets a bad rap for being time intensive and difficult. But what actually makes risotto a great beginner dish is the stirring. For those who have more experience, this can be a meditative thing. But for those with insecurity at the stove, the fact that you can’t stir too much is very helpful. Ever met that guy who can’t help prodding the burgers every 30 seconds on the grill? Well, turn him loose on some risotto. It’s one dish that can really benefit from a helicopter cook.

This easy vegetarian risotto is Spanish-inspired and uses one of my favorite spices: smoked paprika. It’s a great compliment to the sweetness of the roasted butternut squash and nutty aged Manchego. Use a nice dry white wine for cooking (perhaps something from Spain!) and enjoy the remaining bottle alongside your meal.

Recipe: Smoky Butternut Squash Risotto with Manchego Cheese
Makes 4 servings
What you’ll need:

One 2-pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 tsp. smoked paprika, divided
1 tsp. sea salt, divided
1 quart vegetable stock
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large leek (pale green and white parts), thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives or parsley
½ cup finely grated aged Manchego cheese

Preheat the oven to 425F. On a parchment lined baking sheet, toss together the squash, 1 tablespoon oil, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika and ½ teaspoon of salt. Arrange in an even layer and roast in the oven until tender and caramelized, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the risotto: in a medium saucepan, warm the stock over low heat.

In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, heat the remaining oil. Sauté the onions and leeks over medium-high heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, rice, and remaining paprika. Toast the rice until the edges are opaque and the center pearly white, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and salt to the pan, scraping up any brown bits, and cook until reduced by half.

Add 1 cup of the warm broth to the pan. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to medium low and gently cook until nearly absorbed. Repeat this process, adding stock by ½ cup, until the rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Stir in the roasted butternut squash, plus half the fresh herbs and cheese. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the remaining herbs and cheese.

Thank you so much, Phoebe!

P.S. Three-ingredient pastas, and a secret to the best spaghetti sauce.

(Photos and recipe by Phoebe Lapine of Feed Me Phoebe. Thanks to Caroline Donofrio for her help with this series)

  1. Joanna, I read your blog every day; but this is my first comment. I made this risotto and feel so confident! My ex boyfriend was a great cook and I never thought I could do anything in the kitchen. But I made this, it was delicious, and I feel like I can do anything!

    Love, Lake

  2. I made this yesterday — so delicious! Just substituted barley for the rice and mushroom broth for the veg stock. Yum!

  3. I make a version of this that includes bacon (sooooo good!) but I’ve always wanted to make it for my vegetarian brother and wasn’t quite sure if the recipe would measure up sans bacon. This recipe looks divine–thanks for the inspiration! It’s been pinned and I’m going to make it next time I’m lucky enough to get together with my favorite (only!) brother. Thanks so much!

  4. This will be dinner tomorrow! I gave up meat (all sorts) as my new years resolution due to the unnecessary animal abuse that goes on in the industry plus the fact that we use 3 times as much resources and emit far greater gas to produce meat that we would if we just planted more fruits and veggies! MEATLESS MONDAYS BECOME MEATLESS MONTHS AT MY HOUSE.

  5. One way to save time is to roast the squash for more than one meal in the week (and roast some other veggies while doing it to use that night and/or other nights). That way one day you might do more prep with all the roasting, but then for other days you have quicker meals to go. That all said, I have not yet made risotto since my second child was born and she is 19 months now. :)

  6. This looks amazing! Thank you, Phoebe! I cant wait to try it.

  7. Yum! I’m always looking for new ways to make butternut squash! I bet you could add a little kale in there too.

  8. Mmm I love butternut squash! I like to drizzle a little olive oil on it, add garlic salt and pepper, and roast it in the oven :) Thanks for sharing!
    ~ Samantha

  9. Butternut squash and risotto is a perfect combination. I usually make it with sage and goat cheese! I cannot begin on how good and creamy it is. On the healthier side, butternut squash sautéed with spinach and mixd with bulgur is also super yummy!

  10. Looks great! We love butternut squash soup and this would be something different for all of us to try.

  11. wow, it would take about 2 hours to make this. perfect for you new Yorkers who eat at 8 p.m. but I’ve been perfecting ways to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less for the kiddos! I cannot stop the dog from begging and the kiddos chasing each other around the kitchen island. I even “up” the oven times for meatloaf and lasagna just to get ‘er done. Maybe a parenting cooking series?

  12. Sat down to meal plan the rest of the week and saw this! Thank you. It’s what’s for dinner :)

  13. It’s cold in Toronto. I want this right NOW!

  14. I love butternut squash. I can’t believe how versatile it is.

    i recently made some butternut squash and kale enchiladas with pepperjack cheese.

  15. I made an “orzotto” dish the other night – basically risotto, but with orzo instead of rice. Cooks in about half the time, so you don’t have to hover for quite as long!

  16. One of my goals for 2015 is to finally make a damn good risotto. Looks like I have my recipe!

  17. That looks so good! We haven’t made a proclamation of going meat free, but have been tiptoeing toward more of less.

    I just had my lunch, which was leftover forbidden rice with sliced cucumbers, salsa, and a hit of hot sauce.

    Going to add this recipe to my must-try list!

  18. Do you stir in the squash at the last moment? Or earlier while mixing in broth… This looks delicious!

  19. Thank you – I will definitely be making this soon!