Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage and Bacon

If you’re looking for the perfect risotto recipe, this butternut squash risotto with sage and bacon combines some of the best seasonal flavors to create a creamy and delicious main dish or side dish!

butternut squash risotto with sage and bacon on a white plate

Risotto is an impressive dish but it’s not that difficult to make at home. Stir in some roasted butternut squash, maple syrup and bacon to create a creamy dish packed with fall flavors.

Ingredient Notes

butternut squash risotto ingredients

Using the best ingredients helps create the best flavor and consistency for risotto. While we always recommend following the recipe closely, you can make a few modifications, if needed.

  • Arborio Rice – This is the most widely available type of Italian short grain rice, which is the type of rice you want to use for risotto. Other types of risotto rice include Carnaroli, Vialone, and Baldo, which are not regularly available in grocery stores in the United States.
  • Bacon – You can omit the bacon to make this vegetarian, however it will alter the flavor slightly.
  • Butternut Squash – You can use another type of winter squash, if desired. Sugar pumpkin and acorn squash taste great with this recipe too.
  • Shallot – You can use finely diced yellow onion instead of shallot.
  • Broth – Use vegetable or chicken broth.
  • White Wine – Use a quality drinkable wine for risotto. You can substitute the wine for broth.
  • Maple Syrup – You can omit the maple syrup, if desired.
  • Ground Nutmeg – This adds a very subtle flavor, but you can omit if needed.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Always use freshly grated Parmesan cheese for the best texture and flavor.
  • Sage – Use fresh sage for the best flavor. You can substitute 1-2 teaspoons of dried sage instead of fresh.
roasted butternut squash for risotto

To save time, you can roast the butternut squash in the oven up to a few days ahead of time, if desired. Puree the squash in a blender or food processor when you’re ready to cook the risotto.

cooking bacon and onions in a pan for risotto

Tips for Making Butternut Squash Risotto

  • Do not rinse the rice! Washing the rice removes the starch which is necessary for the risotto to maintain the creamy consistency.
  • Slowly add the stock to the pan. If you add all of the stock at once then you won’t create that creamy starch. Wait until the rice absorbs all of the stock before adding more. This requires a little more oversight and patience, but the end result is worth it.
  • Don’t stress about stirring. Stir once every 30 seconds or so. Overstirring introduces too much air and will dry out the risotto.
  • Cook the rice at medium simmer. If you cook at too low a heat, it will never cook.
  • Cook until al dente. The rice should be just cooked with a little bite to it.
stirring rice and butternut squash in a pan to make risotto

FAQs

Do I have to peel butternut squash before roasting?

You can roast butternut squash with the skin on and then scoop out the flesh. But, peeling and chopping into small pieces allows the squash to cook quicker.

What is the easiest way to peel a butternut squash?

Chop off the top stem of the squash. You can use a knife or vegetable peeler to carefully peel the butternut squash. A vegetable peeler follows the shape of the squash better, so it’s often easier than using a sharp knife.

What goes well with butternut squash risotto?

The risotto tastes great served as a main dish. You can serve it with Fresh Garden Salad or as a side dish to other fall dishes. We love pairing it with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Thanksgiving Turkey, Cranberry Sauce and Roasted Pears.

butternut squash risotto on a white plate sprinkled with fresh parmesan and sage

Don’t hesitate making risotto at home. It’s the perfect dish for a dinner party or served as a side at Thanksgiving. Try it and let us know what you think!

butternut squash risotto with sage and bacon on a white plate

Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon, Maple and Sage

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
This risotto recipe combines some of the best flavors of fall including butter nut squash, bacon, maple and sage to create a unique and flavorful meal.
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients 

  • 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 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

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • 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.
  • In a medium saucepan set over low heat, simmer the chicken broth.
  • 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.

Notes

SUBSTITUTIONS
  • Arborio Rice – This is widely available in US grocery stores. Other types of risotto rice include Carnaroli, Vialone, and Baldo, which are not easily available.
  • Bacon – You can omit the bacon to make this vegetarian.
  • Butternut Squash – You can use another type of winter squash, if desired. Sugar pumpkin and acorn squash taste great with this recipe too.
  • Shallot – You can use finely diced yellow onion instead.
  • White Wine – Use a quality drinkable wine for risotto. You can substitute the wine for broth.
  • Maple Syrup – You can omit the maple syrup, if desired.
  • Ground Nutmeg – This adds a very subtle flavor, but you can omit if needed.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Always use freshly grated Parmesan cheese for the best texture and flavor.
  • Sage – Use fresh sage for the best flavor. You can substitute 1-2 teaspoons of dried sage instead of fresh.
STORAGE
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave. When reheating, you can add a small amount of broth to make it creamier and smoother.
  • We do not recommend freezing risotto.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 501kcal, Carbohydrates: 78g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 16mg, Sodium: 1522mg, Potassium: 593mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 13824IU, Vitamin C: 27mg, Calcium: 134mg, Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
If you try this recipe, don’t forget to leave a review below or share a photo and tag @spoonfulofflavor on Instagram.

This recipe was originally published in 2014. It was updated in September 2020 with new photos, process and ingredient details, FAQs and tips.

6 comments on “Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage and Bacon”

  1. I love making risotto in the fall and this one has SO many delicious autumn flavors. And it’s gorgeous, too!

  2. This looks like the colors and flavors of Fall – it’slike Fall on a plate!! I can’t wait for my home to smell as good as this looks – delish!

  3. Can I substitute something for the white wine?

  4. This is one of the best things I’ve made all fall! 

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