Heirloom Squash Risotto Recipe

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat. Use a melon baller to scoop out about 1 cup of the squash flesh. Blanch the squash rounds for about 1 minute, drain, and set aside.

Season the remaining squash with salt and pepper, to taste. Place on a baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes, or until tender. Transfer the cooked squash with 2 cups of the vegetable stock to a blender and purée to a creamy consistency. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, and cook until translucent, 3 minutes. Add the arborio rice and mix well. Next, add the white wine and stir constantly until absorbed. Continue the process with the remaining vegetable stock until the rice is cooked, 18-20 minutes. Add the reserved squash purée and rocket, then finish with ¼ cup of the Parmesan.

In a separate pan, heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the chanterelles and squash rounds for 2 minutes. In a separate small sauté pan, heat the butter over medium heat until the foam subsides and the butter turns nutty brown, taking care not to burn the solids. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and finish with the torn sage, winter truffle, and the remaining Parmesan.

  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 8 fresh zucchini blossoms, optional
  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh sweet corn kernels
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened but not browned. Add the zucchini blossoms, if using, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for about 1 minute. Remove the blossoms to a plate and keep warm. Add the farro. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes just to coat with the oil and mix with the onions.Pour the stock into the skillet. Stir the farro and onions. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 40 to 45 minutes, at which time the farro should be tender and the stock evaporated. Add more stock if needed during cooking to keep the farro moist.

Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. of oil in another large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the zucchini and corn kernels. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the vegetables brown.

Add the tomatoes. Cook for about 1 minute to warm through. Add the farro and toss to mix.

Add the butter and stir until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon the farro onto each of 8 plates. Garnish each plate with a zucchini blossom.

Recipe Notes

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Ingredient Spotlight


  1. For the Squash Purée:
    • 2 large butternut squash (about 4 1/2 lb. total)
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp. white miso
    • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
    • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  2. For the Risotto:
    • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 2 1/2 tsp. (or more) kosher salt, divided
    • 2 cups arborio rice
    • 1 cup dry white wine or hard or sweet cider
    • 3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
    • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
    • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    • 2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dill or parsley (from about 1/2 bunch)
    • Orange wedges (for serving)

Acorn Squash Risotto

Place acorn squash cut-side down on a large microwave-safe plate. Cook in the microwave until very soft, about 15 minutes. Let cool until easily handled, about 5 minutes.

Peel squash, discarding skin. Combine squash flesh, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary in a bowl mash to combine.

Pour vegetable broth into a saucepan bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in rice until coated with butter. Pour in wine, stirring until reduced, about 3 minutes.

Ladle 1/3 of the vegetable broth into the pot cook and stir until absorbed. Repeat this process twice more, stirring constantly, until rice is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Stir fontina cheese and Parmesan cheese into the rice until melted. Add mashed squash and remaining 2 tablespoons butter stir until butter is melted and squash is heated through, 2 to 4 minutes.

Butternut Squash Risotto

A lot of butternut squash risotto recipes call for roasting the squash first. Not this one. Here, everything cooks in the same pot, which means the butternut squash kind of becomes the sauce too. The results are insane.

Here are the top 3 things to remember when making risotto.

1. Use hot stock.

When cooking risotto, you need to add the stock gradually. Keeping the stock warm prevents the temperature from dropping each time you add it to the arborio rice. It also means that the rice will absorb the stock more quickly, which will lead to a better (read: creamier) texture.

2. Never stop stirring.

Some see this as therapeutic, other annoying AF. There's just no way around it. Arborio rice&mdashthe kind generally used in risotto&mdash is extra starchy, which means it's more likely to stick (and burn). Stirring constantly is how you avoid this.

3. Use good cheese.

Think of this a little like a fancy mac 'n cheese. The Parmesan, or whatever whey you decide to go (sorry!), is a prominent component&mdashnot just a garnish. Pre-grated stuff is just salty and dry freshly grated parm is nutty and peppery. It'll also melt better into the sauce.

Have you made this recipe? Let us know how you liked it in the comments below.

Editor's Note: This recipe was updated slightly on August 31, 2020.

  • 30g/1oz unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 280g/10oz arborio rice
  • 200ml/7fl oz dry white wine
  • 1.1 litres/1 pint 16fl oz warm vegetable stock (made with stock cubes)
  • 1 small (or ½ large) butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, cut into small cubes
  • small handful fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 100g/3½oz Parmesan (or a similar vegetarian hard cheese), finely grated
  • 150g/5oz ball of mozzarella, drained, cut into small cubes
  • 30g/1¼oz pine nuts, to serve
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the butter and half the oil in a frying pan over a low-medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and fry for 8-10 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add the rice and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly until it is coated in the oil.

Pour in the wine and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat slightly until the wine is just simmering, then cook until two-thirds of the wine has evaporated.

Add a ladleful of the warm stock to the pan and return to a simmer, reducing the heat if the liquid starts to bubble too fiercely, to prevent the rice from cooking too quickly. When most of the stock has evaporated, add another ladleful. Cook the risotto in this way for 12-15 minutes, or until most of the stock has been absorbed by the rice and the rice is tender but has a slight bite.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry and the butternut squash for 10-12 minutes, turning regularly, until tender and golden-brown all over.

Stir the sage, butternut squash, Parmesan and mozzarella into the risotto. Turn the heat off, leave the pan on the heat, and let the cheese melt. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pine nuts and toast for 1-2 minutes, until just golden-brown. Stir them into the risotto and serve.

Recipe Tips

Tip 1: Arborio rice is the classic Italian risotto rice. It is a medium- to long-grain rice that can absorb a lot of liquid as it cooks while retaining a good ‘bite’ when cooked. Use approximately 70g/2½oz per person.

Tip 2: The base of any risotto is the ‘soffritto’ (the fried onion and garlic). Do not allow the onion to brown, as it will ruin the flavour of the risotto. This rule applies to the rice, too, because burning the rice affects the texture of the risotto.

Tip 3: Stirring the rice as it absorbs the stock helps to release starch which gives risotto its creamy texture.

Tip 4: You may not need to use all of the stock - you’re aiming for a dish that’s sloppy rather than dry. As a rough guide, the risotto should absorb up to five times its volume in liquid.

Tip 5: You can vary the flavour of your risotto by adding different ingredients. Try substituting the butternut squash and sage with cooked ham and peas. If you’re adding harder vegetables, you might need to pre-cook them first.

Tip 6: When you stir in the cheese, you can also add butter and mascarpone to make the risotto extra-impressive and extra-luxurious.

Wild and Wonderful: Heirloom Winter Squash

Now that the heirloom tomatoes are done, my thoughts have turned to winter squash, in particular heirlooms. Heirloom winter squash are beautiful, diverse, versatile, super-tasty and just plain wonderful.

Patty Gentry of Early Girl Farm in Center Moriches shares a similar, if not more passionate, regard for winter squash. On a recent visit to her farm, I spied more than 20 different varieties of Cucurbita in varying sizes, shapes and colors. What is particularly fascinating about heirloom vegetables is that each variety tells a story. Gentry grows heirloom squash that hail from France, Italy, Spain, Australia, Japan, South Africa, Central America and Mexico as well as varieties prized by Native Americans and early American settlers. She sources her seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, one of the largest, and most committed, purveyors of rare and heirloom seeds in the country. Baker Creek’s website lists nearly 120 different varieties of heirloom squash alone. Already dreaming about the 2015 growing season? Their free 212-page color catalog is spectacular and coffee table worthy.

Winter squash, with their thick skins, can easily be stored in a cool dry spot and will last for most of the season. Gentry still has a large selection of winter squash available and will be selling them at her farm stand in Center Moriches on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. until her stand closes for the season on Sunday, November 23. Early Girl Farm is at 177 Montauk Highway, right next to Nettie’s Bakery. Gentry, who is also an accomplished chef, will be serving samples of squash soup and culinary inspiration, too.

On Friday November 14, Gentry gets off the farm a bit for a cooking demonstration at the Quogue Library. She will prepare some Thanksgiving recipes using organic root vegetables and barbecuer Brian Collins, of Ma’s ‘Que Crew, will serve smoked turkey. After the demonstration and tasting, Gentry will have her root veggies available for purchase.

Below is just a smattering of the some the wild and wonderful heirloom winter squash grown by Patty Gentry at Early Girl Farm.

1) Musquee de Provence, which turns tan when ripe, looks very much like it could magically become Cinderella’s coach. A very large pumpkin, this French heirloom has deep orange and slightly stringy flesh with a mild, sweet, almost buttery flavor.

2) Dickinson is a very large squash with tan skin and flesh that is dense, dry and sweet, rendering it one of the best squashes for pies.

3) Australian Butter is a large cucurbit with dense bright orange flesh. Rich and sweet flavored, it is ideal for pies and baking. This beautiful and rare heirloom from Australia is also a great keeper.

4) Kikuza is a Japanese heirloom with deeply ribbed tan skin and orange flesh. Its dry, sweet and mildly spiced flesh makes it a perfect table squash. Just boil and mash it and serve it with a few pats of butter.

5) Buen Gusto de Horno is a tasty Spanish heirloom. Translated, its name means good taste from the oven, and that it is! With dense golden orange flesh, this squash is excellent for baking and is a good keeper, too.

6) Uncle David’s Dessert is a squash whose name says it all. With a small seed cavity and super sweet orange flesh, this heirloom is very versatile use it in pies and soups or just mash and serve it.

7) Black Futzu is an unusual Japanese heirloom that has golden flesh and a flavor reminiscent of hazelnuts. Its nutty flavor renders this squash perfect for soups, risotto and even a pumpkin spice latte.

8) Lakota is a beautifully colored heirloom that was grown and treasured by the Lakota Sioux. A great storage squash, Lakotas have a sweet nutty flavored flesh and are as tasty as they are good-looking.

9) Guicoy is a very old Central American heirloom that has been depicted in ancient Mayan pottery. This dark rumply-looking squash has a small seed cavity and sweet almost crimson-colored flesh.

Risotto is a traditional northern Italian rice dish cooked with broth until it achieves a creamy texture. The broth can be obtained from meat, fish, or vegetables. Many forms of risotto comprise butter, onion, white wine, and parmesan cheese. It is one of the most common methods of cooking rice in Italy.

Learn how to make Butternut Squash Risotto with the full detail guide below. Now gather your equipment, and let’s start cooking.

My favorite pan to make risotto is a 12-Inch Professional Grade All-Clad D3 Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Fry Pan with Lid. Available at Amazon. Great for cooking at higher heat with oils to develop foods with full, rich flavor, color, and crisp texture.

1. Preparing Butternut Squash

Place squash face down on sheet tray and roast at 350 degrees until fork tender. Remove from the oven and scoop out the flesh. Place squash in a blender and add heavy cream and milk to loosen to desired consistency.

2. Cooking Risotto and Lobster

Add olive oil to a pan, add 2 cups Arborio Rice, cook till rice is toasted. Then add Shallots and sweat out, add white wine, and cook off all alcohol.

Start adding chicken stock and keep rice moving as rice drys-up, keep adding chicken stock at 2 oz. Every minute for 20 minutes. As the rice starts to cook add, Butternut Squash Puree with Risotto, Parmesan Cheese.

As rice is cooking, poach Lobster tail in melted butter very gently, then add Knuckle and Claw Meat to rice, add diced Butternut Squash, chives to the plate, season to taste with salt. Top with the poached Lobster tail.

How to Make Butternut Squash Risotto

While the risotto bubbles away in its pot in the oven, we’ll simply roast cubed butternut on the top rack until it’s tender and caramelized on the edges.

Then, we’ll stir the rice and butternut together with a splash of white wine, several pats of butter and freshly-grated Parmesan.

To take it to the next level, we’ll top it all off with crispy fried sage (you’ll learn how to make it in the recipe below). This risotto is heavenly, I tell you. Here’s to healthy, happy eating!

  • 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups chopped peeled butternut, hubbard, red kuri or kabocha squash (1/2-inch pieces)
  • 2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads, (optional)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, or dry vermouth
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Place broth in a medium saucepan bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat so the broth remains steaming, but is not simmering.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in squash and mushrooms cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms give off their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, salt, pepper and saffron (if using) cook for 30 seconds. Add rice stir until translucent, about 1 minute. Add wine (or vermouth) and cook, stirring, until almost absorbed by the rice, about 1 minute.

Stir in 1/2 cup of the hot broth reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until all the liquid has been absorbed, until the rice is tender and creamy, 30 to 40 minutes total. (You may have some broth left.) Remove from the heat and stir in cheese.