You don’t need to be chained to the stove to get perfect creamy risotto. This easy roasted butternut squash risotto, requires 5 minutes of stirring, tops! It’s a hearty, comforting fall vegetarian dinner that the whole family will love.
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Have you ever made traditional risotto? IF you’ve got the time to stand at the stove, stirring a pot for half an hour, it’s pretty easy to make and almost therapeutic.
But that’s a big “if”. Personally on any given weeknight, with two little kids, it’s just not an option.
So I was intrigued but skeptical when I came across this “almost hands-free” technique from America’s Test Kitchen New Family Cookbook. I had to test it out. These days, nothing excites me more than finding ways to simplify my life.
Good news: It works! It’s as creamy as my traditional recipe, and a lot less labor-intensive. But before we get to how it happens, you might be wondering…
What is the best rice for risotto?
You can’t make risotto with just any ol’ rice. There are a few different varieties of Italian short grain rice that will work, but the most commonly found in grocery stores is arborio rice. This type of rice releases a lot of starch as it cooks which is what makes risotto so creamy.
Regular long grain white rice, jasmine rice or basmati rice, will not work as it does not release enough starch. It just gets mushy instead of creamy.
Do not rinse risotto rice before cooking because you will wash away the starch.
How to make almost hands-free butternut squash risotto
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut a medium butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes (you should have about 4 1/2 cups). If you’re not adept, I highly recommend this tutorial on cutting butternut squash. It’s an awkward vegetable to deal with, but worth the trouble!
- Toss the butternut squash with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a large pinch of salt, and a some fresh ground pepper. You can toss it in a bowl, or directly on the baking sheet.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven and roast for 20-25 minutes until tender and lightly browned. Set aside.
4. While the squash is roasting, combine 5 cups of vegetable broth and 1 1/2 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce heat to a simmer.
5. Melt two tablespoons butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add a chopped onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in a minced garlic clove until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
6. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2-3 minutes.
7. Add the wine and stir constantly until absorbed. Add 3/4 of the hot broth and water mixture and reduce heat to low.
8. Cover the pot and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is still a little crunchy (al dente), about 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
9. Remove the lid and stir in 1 more cup of the broth and water mixture. Stir constantly for a couple of minutes until risotto is creamy. Stir in more liquid to taste if you find it too dry.
10. Stir in a cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered, for about 5 minutes.
11. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and lemon juice, and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the roasted butternut squash.
I like to serve this creamy comforting butternut squash risotto with this tangy fall-themed salad. It’s a perfect combo.
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Butternut Squash Risotto
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs butternut squash peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (4 1/2 cups)
- 5 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 oz Parmesan cheese grated (1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the cubed butternut squash onto a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
- Roast in the preheated oven 20-25 minutes until tender and lightly browned. Set aside.
- While the squash is roasting, combine the broth and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer.
- In a Dutch oven over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.
- Add the rice and and cook, stirring frequently for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the wine and cook until absorbed, stirring constantly. Add three quarters of the hot broth and water mixture and lower the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is still a little crunchy (al dente), about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- Remove the lid and stir in 1 cup of the broth and water mixture. Stir constantly until the risotto is creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Remove the pot from the heat and let it stand, covered, for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the butter and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Fold in the roasted butternut squash.