I am about as happy to see November as I am to see January.  I do not like this month and its leaves that fall from the trees and its light that vanishes from the sky entirely too soon.

November is simply stripped of color, and I find that depressing.  Why is it the end of something so nice, October, must mark the beginning of something I dislike so very much?

Poor November, does it have any redeeming qualities? I suppose the fact that it hosts my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, should count for something.  And the opportunity to continue cooking with fall squash should count for something too.

I recently ate one of the most delicious grilled cheese sandwiches made with provolone, butternut squash and caramelized onion.  And I can’t wait to try a recipe for butternut squash macaroni & cheese. But it’s this dish, butternut squash risotto, that is one of my top recipes for autumn.  I made the dish a few times last fall, and it apparently made quite an impression.

 Taster: What are you making?  
Me: Butternut squash risotto.
Taster: Oh, you made that before!  It’s cheesy.
Me: (somewhat puzzled by the “cheesy” description)  Yeah, I guess so…
Taster: That’s so good!
Me: Uh-huh
Taster: Seriously, it’s the best thing you make. 

The butternut squash risotto is hearty, flavorful, and delicious. As I took my first bite of the dish this fall, I realized the Parmesan cheese really does make “cheesy” an accurate description.

In the past, I made the dish as originally written with chicken broth and thyme. This time around, I used beef broth and sage. Both were delicious. The dish takes a bit of time to prepare, but it is worth the effort. Enjoy!

Risotto with Butternut Squash
Recipe type: Entree
  • 2½ cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups (one box) chicken, beef or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup risotto
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon minced thyme or sage
  • zest of one lemon
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Spread the butternut squash in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Roast in a 400 degree oven until tender, about 25 minutes, turning once halfway through.
  5. While the squash roasts, bring the broth to a boil and the simmer over low heat.
  6. Also while the squash roasts, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet.
  7. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, about six minutes.
  8. Place the risotto in the skillet with the onion and garlic and cook,stirring constantly, for two minutes.
  9. Pour the wine into the skillet and stir constantly until absorbed.
  10. Add ½ cup of broth, the thyme or sage, and the lemon zest to the skillet.
  11. Stir frequently until the wine is absorbed.
  12. Continue to add the broth ½ cup at a time to the skillet, stirring frequently after each addition until absorbed.
  13. When the risotto is tender, about 30 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Gently fold in the butternut squash and garnish with the thyme or sage.

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