Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon, Maple and Sage

Rethink rice by adding seasonal fall flavors to risotto! Butternut squash, bacon, maple and sage perfectly complement the creamy texture of Arborio rice and create a unique and flavorful meal!

Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon, Maple and Sage - made with arborio rice to yield the most flavorful and filling meal! Butternut squash is my favorite fall flavor. Yes, you read that right. While I love pumpkin, butternut squash is like pumpkin’s long lost cousin that doesn’t get enough credit as it deserves. I love the sweet, nutty flavor, and it is a perfect complement to the creamy texture of Arborio rice. The butternut squash thickens the rice to the perfect consistency, and the other ingredients add exceptional flavor. Rethink rice this fall and create a beautiful, flavorful and hearty meal. Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon, Maple and Sage is the perfect meal. Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon, Maple and Sage - made with arborio rice to yield the most flavorful and filling meal! If you open my pantry, you will find all varieties of RiceSelect rice. It is a versatile grain that I use in all types of meals. All RiceSelect products are grown, milled, and packaged in the USA and are produced from non-GMO proprietary seed. They also have organic varieties available, are easy to find and are a great quality for the price. Try RiceSelect products by locating your nearest store or buy the product online. In addition to the Arborio rice, RiceSelect produces specialty products, including their signature Texmati® White Rice and blends like Arborio Blend™ with Jalapeño and Arborio Blend™ with Mushrooms. Each variety has its own distinct flavor, aroma and texture, therefore producing endless opportunities to create unique meals. Redefine the way you think about rice. Add butternut squash, bacon, maple and sage, or perhaps your favorite fall flavors to create a culinary adventure away from the ordinary, everyday meal. Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon, Maple and Sage - made with arborio rice to yield the most flavorful and filling meal! I really love the texture of this risotto. The butternut squash thickens the rice and highlights the creamy texture of the Arborio rice. I could eat this meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner because it is so good! Arborio rice is also naturally gluten-free so this risotto can be enjoyed by everyone. Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon, Maple and Sage - made with arborio rice to yield the most flavorful and filling meal! Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon, Maple and Sage - made with arborio rice to yield the most flavorful and filling meal! Are you interested in learning more about how you can rethink rice? Sign up for exclusive access to new RiceSelect recipes and coupons. Visit the RiceSelect site for a chance to win a free Aroma 6-cup rice cooker, and use #RethinkRice #sweeps to show your recipe creation for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

Yields about 5 servings

Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon, Maple and Sage
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  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 5 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced sage
  • 2 cups RiceSelect Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. (1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. (2) In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash with one tablespoon olive oil and salt. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until fork-tender. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, puree in a blender or food processor.
  3. (3) In a medium saucepan set over low heat, simmer the chicken broth.
  4. (4) In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy, about 10 minutes, being careful not to burn. Remove bacon from pan and drain the bacon fat from pan. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan then add shallots and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds then add the nutmeg and sage. Add the rice and the wine and stir with a wooden spoon until the wine is mostly absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth to the rice mixture and stir until absorbed. Repeat with 1/2 cup at a time until the rice is al-dente, stirring well after each addition. You may or may not use all of the broth. Mix in the squash puree, maple syrup and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and serve.
 Source: Spoonful of Flavor Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon, Maple and Sage - made with arborio rice to yield the most flavorful and filling meal!

How would you “rethink rice”? What flavors or ingredients would you add to create a unique and versatile meal? Leave a comment below with your idea of the perfect rice creation and be entered for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

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  1. Sues

    Butternut squash makes me so happy, too! Especially when it involves bacon and is in a risotto 🙂 This looks beautiful!

  2. Julie @ This Gal Cooks

    This is a lovely dish that screams fall, Ashley! I love all of the flavors and definitely need to try this recipe soon!

  3. Amy @ A Healthy Life For Me

    Wow, this looks just lovely. Love Risotto, Butternut Squash, Bacon and…. Maple Syrup, well you get it, I will LOVE this recipe!

  4. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    Risotto is one of my favorite dishes to order at restaurants, Ashley! I’ve never tried making my own before, so I will definitely have to use this recipes. It sounds incredible! I’m lovinf the butternut squash and fall flavors in here!

  5. Jessica | Saucy Pear

    I may or may not regularly refer to risotto as the grown-up version of mac ‘n’ cheese – it’s kind of the ultimate comfort food! And this one sounds extra delicious – thanks for this recipe!

  6. Melanie @ Carmel Moments

    Oh that flavor combo has to be amazing! I’m totally into the maple thing so I’m sure this is delish!
    Can’t get enough of butternut squash lately.
    Pinned. Have a marvelous Monday!

  7. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    Butternut squash is my favorite fall flavor too! I absolutely LOVE what you’ve made here. . I love risotto and you did this right with the bacon, maple and sage. love this! To “re-think rice”, I would do an Asian twist or mix it with something unexpected, like arugula or other leafy greens.

    • Ashley

      Great idea, Alice! I always love adding leafy greens to dishes!

  8. Kelly

    Butternut squash always brings a smile to my face and so would this risotto if it was for dinner tonight 🙂 It looks fantastic and I love all the comforting fall flavors in here!

  9. Elena

    I would make mushroom risotto

  10. Lisa Brown

    I would add cinnamon and other warn spices to rice, to make a warm fall rice dish.

  11. Aimee @ ShugarySweets

    I just happen to have some squash on my counter! This sounds like great comfort food for my family!

  12. Fareseason

    Does the maple make it a sweeter than savory risotto dish? Agreed, butternut squash does not get the credit it is due, may be better than pumpkin…

    • Ashley

      The maple syrup just adds a little flavor, it doesn’t make it too sweet at all. Enjoy!

  13. Natalie @ Tastes Lovely

    I think you just inspired my dinner tonight! I have been stumped on what to make. This risotto sounds delicious!

  14. Mira

    Such a simple, but full of flavor and delicious meal! Just in time for fall! I would like to try it, but never made risotto at home so far 🙂

    • Ashley

      You need to try making it at home, Mira! It is so good!

  15. Mami2jcn

    My mother’s arroz con pollo is my favorite rice recipe.

  16. Mami2jcn


  17. Kelly D

    I like adding rice to my black bean burger recipe so it can have a complete protein. It can be eaten alone or in a sandwich.

  18. mimi

    i was intrigued how you were going to get the maple flavor in the risotto. It’s not sweet, is it?!! It’s absolutely gorgeous!

    • Ashley

      The maple syrup adds the perfect amount of maple flavor. It isn’t very sweet at all. This recipe makes a lot and the little amount of syrup is only added for extra flavor. Enjoy, Mimi!

  19. Natalie

    I would rethink rice by adding it to my scrambled eggs and veggies to make a unique twist on breakfast.

  20. Nicole

    My idea of the perfect rice creation is cheesey broccoli with rice. One of my favorites for sure.

  21. Min @ MJ and Hungryman

    I think my favorite fall flavor is kabocha. I grew up eating it in Korea and it’s not only delicious but stirs up all kinds of wonderful memories. I tried butternut squash for the first time when I came to the States, and it quickly won me over too ;). I’m absolutely loving all the flavors in this risotto! Seriously, I think butternut squash + sage + maple combo is just out of this world! Tim may disagree but with the addition of bacon, I’m thinking he’ll be on board. Pinning!

  22. heather

    I love to rethink rice and this recipe sounds super delish I would only add maybe some broccoli and sweet onions.

  23. Kim (Feed Me, Seymour)

    I can’t decide what I like most about this risotto! Everything about it sounds absolutely perfect!

  24. Cheryl W

    How about adding a pesto sauce and shrimp scampi. Sounds like a great rice re-think. Thank you so much for the opportunity to enter.

  25. Kimmy Ripley

    I love using rice to make unstuffed cabbage soup!

  26. ela@GrayApron

    Risottos are the best! Yours looks plenty colorful and flavorful!

  27. Beth @ bethcakes

    This is so cool, I’ve never heard of this rice before! I’ve never made homemade risotto, but I love how you added butternut squash to it! What a great idea for fall. Love the bacon and maple in there too! Pinned:)

  28. Christin@spicysouthernkitchen.com

    What a wonderful combination of flavors! While I won’t say I like butternut squash more than pumpkin, I will say I like it just as much. 🙂

  29. Elle

    I love homemade brown sugar and cinnamon rice pudding. I might even add a bit of mint to it.

  30. Nora @ Savory Nothings

    I love pumpkin risotto – never thought of adding bacon and maple syrup, but what a great idea!

  31. Danae @ Recipe Runner

    Butternut squash totally gets left in the dust when competing with pumpkin, but I adore the squash! I love the maple, bacon, and sage combo in this risotto, so decadent and perfect for fall! Pinned!

  32. Bri | Bites of Bri

    This looks delicious Ashley! I love the flavor combos and I love risotto!

  33. Natalie

    I would rethink rice by adding it to my scrambled eggs in the morning!

  34. marcie

    Butternut squash is such a favorite of mine, and I love it in ravioli and risotto. All of these fall flavors in this dish sound perfect, and the bacon puts it over the top! Pinning. 🙂

  35. Vincent

    I like to use leftover rice along with leftover meat and/or veggies to make fried rice…comes out different and delicious each time.

  36. Robin

    Ok. I normally just eat plain white rice but this makes me want to re-think rice!

  37. Thalia @ butter and brioche

    This is probably the best looking risotto I have ever seen. Totally obsessed with the vibrant colour and the cute little bacon crumble ontop. Definitely need to recreate the recipe!

  38. Our Fresh Kitchen

    Excellent Recipe. I’ll surely try it at home. Now that the Squash are on sale this is a great idea to take some of my squash out of the pantry.

  39. rachel

    I would go for sweet — coconut milk — to make a delicious rice pudding dessert.

  40. Ashley H

    I would make a yummy paella.

  41. anna pry

    i need to rethink rice because right now i only really use it as a plain side dish! pryfamily5@gmail.com

  42. Erika

    I make a chicken bacon broccoli rice casserole that our family really likes.

  43. OFG

    I love making fried rice with leftover white rice, fried egg, soy sauce and lots of fresh veggies. Yum!!

  44. Aurelie Red

    If I had to “rethink” rice, I would cook a dessert, like a rice pudding, with flowers and spice, with some vanilla 😉

  45. Rebecca

    Your recipe looks delicious. I like cilantro lime rice with our Mexican meals.

  46. Dee

    I love chicken and mushroom risotto!

  47. Janice Cooper

    I would add chicken, egg and broccoli to my rice.

  48. Susan Smith

    Rice pudding is a way I rethink rice. When I first made it for my family there were a little hesitant at first but they loved it.

  49. Jessie C.

    I would rethink rice by adding more seasonal veggies to create a unique and versatile meal. Fall is all about comforting food, sweet potato comes to my mind as one main ingredient to go with rice!
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  50. Jessie C.


  51. Tina M

    I’d make Chicken Soup with Rice.



  53. kjasus

    i love making rice balls

  54. Gina M

    I love making homemade pork fried rice, just like my favorite Chinese place!!

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 AT gmail DOT com

  55. Gina M


  56. D Schmidt

    I would rethink rice by using it in recipes instead of potatoes, for example I would use it as a side with a pot roast.

  57. shelly peterson

    I would like to try and make rice dish using cheddar cheese soup and some bacon with some green onions.
    cshell090869 at aol dot com

  58. Anne

    I cook and serve rice quite often, so rethinking rice is an interesting challenge. One of my favorite flavors of this season is apples, and I’m looking at your risotto and thinking that a rice pudding using arborio rice with grated apples would be fun to try and a good combination of flavors and textures. Thanks for the inspiration!

  59. maureen

    I would add it to homemade or even not homemade chicken soup.


    I would try to make a risotto – I never have but it looks delicious

  61. Madeline

    I like adding butternut squash with sage and pecans to rice.

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  63. courtney b

    I love to add teriyaki sauce or soy sauce to any type of rice!!

    thank you for the lovely post!!

  64. Norma

    I like rice pudding with cinnamon!

  65. LAMusing

    I enjoy rice with nuts, raisins and spices like cardamom.

  66. amy pugmire

    My dad makes a mean dish of chicken fried rice! He’s passed away but I have tried to carry on the yummy tradition!

  67. Denise L

    Your dish inspired me. I think I would make lobster risotto!

  68. Christy

    I love chicken fried rice!

  69. Cynthia C

    I would like to experiment with Indian flavors in my rice. It’s a cuisine I have been wanting to try for a while now.

  70. Laura J

    Stuffing green peppers with rice, spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese, and chicken! YUM

  71. Kerry

    My favorite rice creation is a cheesy chicken and rice casserole.

  72. Victoria R.

    I’m going to rethink rice by substituting it for pasta when a recupe calls for it! Rice goes with everything!

  73. Rebecca Graham

    I would add jalapeno peppers.

  74. maria cantu

    I like to make rice with chicken.

  75. Debbie B

    i love rice as a side dish – i need to think about other ways to spice it up some!

  76. Betty C

    Not really a new idea, but fried rice is so versatile. I make extra rice and cook extra chicken, pork chops or roast. Then the next day I fry the rice with the meat I’ve chosen and add a variety of stir fried veggies (preferably fresh from the garden. It’s never exactly the same but always good.

  77. Katherine

    I add it to alot of my homemade soups

  78. Thomas Murphy

    I would add Thyme

  79. Amanda Sakovitz

    id add a creamy pesto sauce

  80. Neiddy

    I would make rice pudding with raisins and cinammon

  81. Neiddy

    tweeted -https://twitter.com/neiddy_ruiz/status/529349867810717697

  82. Tabathia B

    I would add some quinoa

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  83. Tiffany

    I am in love with squash. I’m making this tonight and adding some mushrooms and peas to make it a one pot meal for tonight.

    • Ashley

      Great idea to add mushrooms and peas. Enjoy!

  84. ewhatley

    I love making my Grandma’s recipe for rice pudding and I add almond extract.

  85. Jessica Beard

    My favorite rice recipe is making beef burritos with white rice and black beans.

  86. Annette

    I’d rethink rice by making it into a sweet dish such as rice pudding.

  87. Shannon

    im making this tonight. Can’t wait. I love new risotto dish recipes and this one sounds like a hit. My mouth is salivating.

    • Ashley

      I hope that you love it, Shannon!

      • Shannon

        Ashley, of course you be shocked to hear this. But what a hit this dish was. I’ve made risotto many times but this dish is at the top of my list. Such a great dish for this time of year, and the flavors are amazing. I had to cut back on the fresh sage for one of the parties I was making it for didn’t care for sage but still the flavors that shine in this dish are amazing. I absolutely love how the maple note comes sneaking in at the end of every bite. Just love it it’s a definite keeper. And this dish could feed and army. Also paired well with a turkey loin I made with a olive/Rosemary chibata bread. Thanks for sharing it was an awesome meal. Shannon

        • Ashley

          I am so glad to hear that everyone loved it! It is one of my favorite dishes and the addition of the turkey loin and rosemany ciabatta bread sounds amazing!

  88. Melissa M

    I love to cook rice in bee bullion water. Then ad cooked hamburger, corn and green beans to it.

  89. Sarah @ The Gold Lining Girl

    That’s my favorite rice for risotto! It ends up so creamy! This looks unbelievably good! LOVE it.

  90. Ashlee Renee

    so excited to be making this for one of my thanksgiving takeover dishes!!! 🙂 my first risotto!! However- the group headcount is 18. Although we will have a ton of food, I feel that 5 servings is too small of a dish. How should I double? In separate pans? Or can I cook together just doubling amounts? Makes me nervous…

    • Ashley

      Hi, Ashlee! I would make two batches of the recipe in separate pans and you won’t have any problems. Enjoy!

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