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5 from 1 vote
Butternut Squash and Apple Risotto
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 40 mins
Your favorite fall flavors are stirred into the ultimate comfort food...risotto! This creamy risotto is dotted with chunks of roasted butternut squash, sautéed apples and salty pancetta for a stick to your ribs one-pot meal or an elegant first course.
Course: First Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: butternut squash risotto
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 679 kcal
  • 1 1/2 lb butternut squash, halved and seeds/pulp scooped out
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 lb pancetta, diced
  • 1 apple (I like Gala or Braeburn), peeled, cored and cut into a 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, grated
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, minced
  • minced thyme for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a sheet of nonstick foil on a half sheet tray.
  2. Peel and cut one half of the squash into a 1/4 inch dice. Scatter squash chunks on one half of the sheet tray and toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Rub the other half of the squash with 1 Tbsp olive oil and lay cut side down on the other side of the tray. Season with salt and roast until browned and tender, about 30 mins.
  3. When the half of squash is slightly cooled, scoop out, and puree in a food processor until smooth. Add a tablespoon or two of stock to thin if needed. Set aside.

  4. Pour chicken stock into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat.
  5. In a large wide skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat.
  6. Add pancetta to the skillet and cook, stirring often until browned, about 10 mins. Remove from pan using a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Reserve 2 Tbsp pancetta drippings and set aside. Pour out the remaining grease, but don't wipe pan.
  7. Place pan over medium heat and add apples and cook until browned, about 10 mins. Remove apples and reserve.
  8. Place the same skillet over medium heat and add the reserved pancetta drippings to the pan.
  9. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until soft and golden, 5-8 mins.
  10. Pour some salt in a small dish near the stove so you can season the risotto throughout the cooking process.
  11. Add the rice to pan and stir well to coat. Toast the rice for about one min and then add the white wine.
  12. Add about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of warm stock at a time and stir until fully absorbed. Repeat the process, seasoning throughout with salt, until almost all of the liquid is added and absorbed (will take about 20 mins).

  13. Taste the risotto. You want the rice to be tender, but with a slight bite. Add a little more stock if needed. Stir in the pureed squash.
  14. Stir in the nutmeg, parmesan, butter, and thyme until incorporated.

  15. Fold in half of each of the roasted diced squash, apples, and pancetta.

  16. Spoon into bowls and serve immediately. Garnish with the reserved squash chunks, apples, pancetta, and minced thyme.

Recipe Notes
  • Risotto is all about timing and the key to success is having everything prepped before you start so you can focus on the stirring.
  • Risotto requires a short grain rice (such as arborio or carnaroli). It maintains it chew, while creating a creamy texture and holds up to all the stirring.
  • Warm stock (never cold) promotes even cooking. And no dumping in all at once here. Gradually adding the stock in small increments allows the rice to absorb it slowly and is the key to a creamy risotto.
  • Frequent and consistent stirring encourages the rice to absorb the stock and will yield that creamy texture.
  • Season, season, season as you go. Keep a little dish of salt nearby and season frequently throughout the cooking process. And remember to taste, adjust the seasoning, and taste again.
  • Risotto waits for no man. Be ready to sit down and enjoy as soon as those final ingredients are stirred into the rice for optimal texture and taste.
  • Leftovers? Chill leftover risotto and roll into balls, ideally with a little chunk of cheese in the center. Roll into breadcrumbs and fry em up. Arancini (rice balls) are so tasty you may want to make a little extra risotto just so you can make these for your next meal!
Nutrition Facts
Butternut Squash and Apple Risotto
Amount Per Serving
Calories 679 Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Fat 31g48%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 41mg14%
Sodium 642mg28%
Potassium 1065mg30%
Carbohydrates 79g26%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 18370IU367%
Vitamin C 43.6mg53%
Calcium 184mg18%
Iron 4.5mg25%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.