Pirate Kitchen

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

General, Holiday, Pasta, Vegetarian | November 13, 2011 | By

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Fried Sage

We are traveling this Thanksgiving. It sounds exotic, but it’s only 3 whole miles. I won’t be preparing the entire feast and what a perfect opportunity to try something new to bring along for the table – to add to the tried and true of course.

This dish will look beautiful on the table, in the midst of the Thanksgiving feast, with whole fried sage leaves on top and shot through with flecks of more crumbled fried sage and golden-orange butternut squash. Hmmmmm, not only a potential conversation piece but really, how can you go wrong with more starch!

The texture and flavor of this is just amazing. The chewy yet creamy rice combined with the elegant flavors of roasted squash and fried sage is rich and lovely.  The keys to good risotto are arborio rice and the gradual addition of the cooking liquid vs. starting with all the rice and liquid in the pot together like many other rice dishes. Slow, steady and patient…so not our world these days, but I impose my will, um recipe, upon it!

It all started when my co-worker Margie gave me a butternut squash 2 weeks ago and I went on the search to figure out what to do with it.  I’m such a food geek and loved the farm-grown butternut squash gift and then the pursuit of a recipe. Margie knew exactly who to give it to! I see these all the time at the grocery store and think, “It’s so weird and I’d love to buy it, but I don’t know what to do with it!” Now I do. Don’t be intimidated:  the squash can be peeled easily with a potato peeler and roasted and pureed a few days in advance.Peeling Butternut Squash

The round bottom holds the seeds and fibrous threads. Cut the top off, cut the bottom in half, scrape out the seeds and then cut everything into 1-1 1/2″ chunks. Or, you can skip this part entirely and nobody will ever know:  peeled, seeded and diced butternut squash is sold in containers in the produce section of the supermarket. Butternut Squash With Seeds

I ate this straight from the pot and really had to control myself!Roasted Butternut Squash in the Pot

Don’t be daunted by the length of the recipe; it’s not complicated and roasting and pureeing the squash in advance is a major time saver. Lavish praise is a great motivator and you will be a hit on Thanksgiving (or whenever!) with this gorgeous and impressive dish.

See also:  Thanksgiving One Year Ago

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
6-8 Side Dish or 4-6 Main Dish Servings

Roasted Butternut Squash


    • 1 Butternut Squash peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1-1 1/2″ pieces or 1 fresh, store-bought container of above
    • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Sage
    • Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread butternut squash on a sheet pan and toss with olive oil, dried sage and salt and pepper. Roast for 45-50 minutes tossing once halfway through the cooking time. Cool and puree in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Set aside if using the same day or refrigerate in a container for up to 3 days.



  • 6 Cups chicken broth (vegetarians can substitute vegetable broth)
  • 1 Cup white wine (1 Cup of chicken or vegetable broth can be substituted for the wine)
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups (16 0z.) arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer then reduce to low heat to keep hot through the entire cooking process.

In a large, heavy saucepan, saute the onions in the olive oil over medium until tender, but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil and onions. Add the wine or chicken broth and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but firm and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Add the remaining cup of heavy cream and pureed butternut squash, mix together and heat through. Turn off the heat and before serving add crumbled fried sage leaves (recipe below) and Parmesan cheese. Serve topped with whole fried sage leaves.

Fried Sage Leaves


  • 8-10 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons butter

Set a few whole sage leaves aside for garnish and rough chop the rest. In a small saute pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat until pale golden, about 4 minutes. Add the whole and chopped sage leaves fry until crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan to a plate and set aside.


Inspired by Margie’s gift of a farm-grown, organic butternut squash.

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  1. Margie (Max's best friend)
    November 15, 2011

    AMAZING!!! A must try dish! Hmmmm what can I give you next…….