Butternut squash risotto

Risotto, it is one of the first dishes you learn in culinary school. It was also the dish my head chef detested it with a passion. Perhaps it was because he suffered through marking students attempts at making it too many years. “Wallpaper paste…” is what he fondly called it.

Now most risottos are made with wine, mushrooms and Parmesan. Normally that would be great… buuut However i have yet to find a good risotto in a restaurant. Instead of sautéed mushrooms, they are stewing in the liquids turning the whole thing into grey mush akin to some savoury rice pudding…. call me picky but that is NOT risotto nor is it yummy.

Like Reme the rat said in the Disney movie ratatouille- Just because it IS edible doesn’t me it should be …

Let us redeem wallpaper paste. Let us revive a classic into a beautiful autumn treat. Flavours of fall, sage, roasted squash are amount the top.

The trick is to stay by your stove…it only takes 30 min or so so just invest the time. Also toast the rice and then gradually add a little broth at a time and cook that liquid until it is fully absorbed then add more. No stewing. The rice will swell and grow and become a velvety creamy texture, that is desired for risotto. Roasting the squash separately ensures that the squash is sweet and flavourful. Roast your squash just until cooked – it also stays intact with stirred into rice.

This a nice showy dish that pairs perfectly with most poultry and rustic bread or a lovely spring mix salad with toasted nuts.

Autumn Risotto – Squash and spinach

Originally found on Nora cooks.

  • 3 cups mix of cubed small squash acorn, butternut or pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • chopped parsley, optional
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional ** omit if Daniel fasting)
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the cubed butternut squash. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then bake for 20-30 minutes until tender and lightly browned.
  • Warm the broth: Heat the vegetable broth in a large pot over medium-low heat until warm, but not boiling.
  • Make the Risotto: In a large saute pan over med heat olive oil garlic and onion. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil, sauteing for about 2 more minutes. (Deglaze pan with wine , if using, and cook until wine is absorbed)
  • Add 1/2 cup of the warm broth, and stir until absorbed. Continue adding 1/2 cup broth at a time, stirring frequently until absorbed each time, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is al dente (tender, yet slightly chewy), about 20-30 minutes. The heat should be high enough that the rice/broth is bubbling soon after you add it, but not boiling too much or the liquid will absorb too quickly.
  • Once all the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and stir in the baby spinach and diced roasted butternut squash. Add salt to taste.
  • To serve, garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

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