Fall flavors merge deliciously in this Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto. A fabulous combination of sweet butternut squash, crispy prosciutto, shallots, garlic, sage and thyme in creamy risotto. Plus, it's gluten-free, perfect for meal prep and on the table in 45 minutes!
This butternut squash risotto has a delicious creamy texture and embodies the flavors of autumn with the caramelized squash, sage, thyme and nutmeg. It’s budget-friendly yet elegant enough for weekend entertaining or for a quiet fall date night.
Risotto is a wonderfully versatile dish that can by served as an appetizer, side dish or the main course. And this risotto would be an excellent choice to work into your Thanksgiving menu or any other special occasion.
If you’d like to check out more risotto recipes, I make this lemony shrimp risotto with asparagus throughout the spring and summer. And this instant pot chicken marsala risotto is a winner throughout the year.😉
Why You’ll Love this Butternut Squash Risotto
- Tantalize your taste buds with delicious, comforting fall flavors!
- Easy recipe that’s on the table in less than an hour.
- Budget-friendly and made mostly with pantry ingredients.
- Stores well making it excellent for meal prepping.
- Naturally gluten free.
- Arborio Rice: A short-grain Italian rice that releases its starch as warm stock is added and takes on a lovely creamy texture.
- Butternut Squash: Tender cubes with caramelized edges adds sweet and subtly nutty flavor.
- Prosciutto: Brings delicate sweet and salty notes to the dish.
- Shallots and Garlic for aromatic flavor.
- White Wine: A good quality dry white wine is best for risotto. Look for a crisp chardonnay, sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio. Add extra broth if you’d like to omit the wine.
- Vegetable Stock: Or use chicken broth to make the rice soft and plump.
- Herbs and Spice: Fresh sage leaves, thyme sprigs and nutmeg add warm, delicious fall flavors. You could also add fresh rosemary.
- Parmesan Cheese for a bit more nutty saltiness.
Here’s how you’ll go about making roasted butternut squash risotto. The recipe card below details the cooking time for each step.
Roast Squash: Place cubed butternut squash on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, black pepper and freshly ground nutmeg. Roast in a preheated hot oven at 400 degrees F until fork tender.
Heat the Stock: Bring chicken or vegetable broth to a low simmer in a medium saucepan. This expedites the cooking process. Keep it warm until the risotto is done.
Cook Prosciutto: Meanwhile cook the prosciutto strips in a large pot, sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
Sauté Shallots and Garlic: Cook shallots in a little olive oil until softened then add chopped garlic and sauté a couple minutes until fragrant. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.
Start Risotto: Add arborio rice to the shallot mixture and stir for a minute to toast the rice. Then add a good splash of white wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan and absorb into the rice.
Add Broth: Ladle ¾ cup or so of hot stock at a time allowing the rice to absorb most of the liquid before adding more. It’ll be about 2 minutes in between each addition. As the rice cooks it will become creamier with each addition of stock.
Finishing Up: At the end of the cooking process when the risotto has a creamy consistency, stir the roasted squash, prosciutto, chopped sage and thyme. Let the flavors mingle a minute or two. Top with grated parmesan cheese and serve hot!
Tips to Make Great Risotto
- Peel and cut butternut squash: The skin is waxy so you’ll want to remove it. I find a vegetable peeler works best. Once peeled, I like to cut the dense top part from the rounded bottom and chop that first. Try to cut the pieces uniformly for even cooking.
- Hot stock is key! Keep it at a low simmer while making the risotto. Cold broth lowers the temperature of the pan and alters the cooking process.
- You don’t have to stir constantly! Give the risotto a good stir every 30-60 seconds. Stirring constantly cools the risotto down. If you don’t stir enough, however, it will burn.
- Let broth get absorbed before adding more. If you add too much liquid at once, you’ll boil the rice which doesn’t let the creamy starch develop.
- Keep heat at a medium simmer throughout cooking. If your heat is too low, the risotto will take forever to cook.
- You’re looking for slightly al dente rice, not mushy.
- Cook vegetables and proteins before adding to risotto. This ensures just-right Goldilocks results. This way you don’t risk the squash being undercooked when the rice is done or become so mushy it loses all integrity.
Variations and Substitutions
- Make a puree by halving the squash lengthwise and roast until the flesh is very tender and mix into the risotto.
- Vegetables – Mix things up by using a different winter squash, sweet potatoes or mushrooms. Yellow or red onion can be used instead of shallots.
- Protein – Substitute diced ham, chicken or sausage for the prosciutto.
- Make Vegetarian or Vegan by omitting the prosciutto and parmesan cheese.
What to Serve with Butternut Squash Risotto
This risotto is certainly hearty enough to stand on its own, but if you’re looking to expand the menu or serve it as a side dish, here are some ideas:
Sides for Risotto
- Crisp Green Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
- Broccolini Salad with White Beans and Burrata
- Balsamic Roasted Green Vegetables
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom Crab Cakes
- Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Risotto as the Side Dish
- Lemon Roasted Chicken
- Pretzel-Crusted Pork Chops
- Cherry Balsamic Pork Tenderloin
- Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Butternut Squash Risotto FAQs
Short-grain arborio rice is the best for making a perfect risotto due to its high starch content which makes it creamy as it cooks. Long-grain rice will not yield the same end result.
Wine adds some acidity and delicious flavor. However, you can replace it with extra broth and a good squeeze of lemon juice for acidity.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days. Reheat on the stove in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. If it seems dry, stir in additional broth. You can also reheat in the microwave.
Yes, it can! Cool leftovers to room temperature and store in plastic freezer bag or container up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
More Butternut Squash Recipes!
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Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe
- 1 ½ pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, divided
- 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 4 ounces prosciutto, torn into strips (optional)
- ¾ cup shallots, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 ½ cups arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- On a rimmed baking sheet, combine squash, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until squash is fork tender but not mushy. Tent with foil to keep warm.
- As the squash bakes, start the risotto by bringing broth to a low simmer in a medium saucepan. Keep warm until risotto is done.
- Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a 5-quart, high-rimmed saucepan or heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
- Add shallots to the pan and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute.
- Add rice and stir 1 minute. Stir in wine and deglaze bottom of the pan, and cook a couple minutes until wine is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
- Add ¾ cup of warm broth and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes.
- Continue to add ¾ cup of broth at a time, allowing most of it to be absorbed after each addition, stirring often, about 20 minutes in total. Rice will become tender and creamy.
- Lower heat to medium-low, stir in squash, prosciutto, sage and thyme into rice. Cook 2 minutes to combine flavors.
- Remove from heat, stir in remaining ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot. Enjoy!
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