Butternut Squash Risotto with Saffron

Trust me I know Thanksgiving dinner can be an overwhelming process, so I wanted to provide you with a few tried and true recipes to assist you with your side dish endeavors. The upcoming Thanksgiving recipes will be full of autumn flavors and modernized versions of classics we all know and love.

First on my list is this irresistible butternut squash risotto with saffron. It’s rich, creamy and the perfect side dish to any holiday menu.

I was never really a fan of any type of squash until recently. I’d always pick the squash pieces out of vegetable medleys and remove them from kebabs, but then I discovered butternut squash and I am now a squash convert. Seriously, I am mildly obsessed with the stuff. First I made a butternut squash puree, then I moved onto butternut squash bread, and now this delicious butternut squash risotto recipe.

Risotto is definitely not complicated; in fact, very few ingredients are needed to throw together this splendid side dish. I’ll be honest and forewarn you that it requires a lot of stirring, so it can be a little time consuming, but I promise it will be well worth your time.

With flavors of butternut squash, pancetta, saffron, and parmesan cheese, how could this dish be anything less than amazing? Plus it’s from Ina Garten and in my opinion; you can never go wrong with an Ina Garten recipe! I want to be just like her when I grow up. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Butternut Squash Risotto

with saffron


1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.

4. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and sauté the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned.

5. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes.

6. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve.

Ina Garten via Food Network

21 Responses to “Butternut Squash Risotto with Saffron”

  1. LimeCake — November 4, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    uncanny! i just had this for dinner last night! it was really really good!


  2. Flavia — November 4, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Hi Jamie, It looks like we are both huge fans of Ina! I’ve always wanted to try this recipe; it looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing!


  3. Joanne — November 4, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    I adore Ina and would gladly devote any amount of time to stirring her recipes. Especially if the recipe in question uses butternut squash and happens to be risotto. good stuff.


  4. Katrina — November 5, 2010 at 9:09 am

    I just bought a squash today! Thanks for the recipe…I’m stealing it ;)


  5. My Kitchen in the Rockies — November 5, 2010 at 10:49 am

    That is funny. I already had the same recipe on my “to cook list”, too. Ina’s recipes are always a winner! Yes, I would also like to be like her and live in her house with this AMAZING kitchen.


  6. Eliana — November 5, 2010 at 11:12 am

    This would make for an excellent accompaniment to turkey for Thanksgiving and totally looks like it is worth the stiring. Love it Jaime.


  7. Audrey — November 5, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    This is probably (no, definitely!) my favorite risotto recipe. It looks so nice in your pretty bowls, too!


  8. Maranda — November 5, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Oh my! This looks amazing!


  9. the blissful baker — November 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    i’ve never made risotto at home before, but when i do, this will be the one! it looks great! i love butternut squash!


  10. joudie's Mood Food — November 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Love Ina, Love this recipe! Looks so perfect for winter. Love the autumn colours!


  11. Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies — November 5, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    This looks so darn good! It’s gotta be way better than the chicken noodle soup I’m gonna have for dinner.


  12. Lisa — November 5, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    I can’t believe this…I made Ina’s risotto for dinner last night. Someone gave me a butternut squash and immediately knew what I was going to do with it. I can’t resist eating the roasted squash while I’m stirring! I do have to make one recommendation. I never add the additional salt because the squash is roasted with salt, the stock, pancetta and Parmesan are salty, too. I made the mistake of adding the additional salt the first time I made this and while it was still delicious, it was too salty. I didn’t have pancetta so I used a few slices of slab bacon. Warning…highly addictive!!!


  13. Nancy @SensitivePantry — November 5, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    There is little out there better than a bowl of creamy steamy cheesy risotto. Except maybe creamy steamy cheesy butternut risotto. Will be making this soon.


  14. Marsha Baker — November 5, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    I’m so glad to know you’ve learned to like butternut squash! It’s one of my most favorite veggies. Check out my ‘famous’ recipe for butternut at my blog…
    Several folks have told me they think it tastes like dessert….makes a great side dish.


  15. Jacqueline — November 6, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I love butternut squash risotto, but have never made my own. I grew two in the garden this year. Sounds like the perfect use for them. I want to make something special with them.


  16. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit — November 6, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Love this butternut risotto! It’s a wonderful way to use some of the winter squash in my pantry. :)


  17. Sharlene — November 7, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    This is lovely. Risotto and squash are two perfect things for cooler weather. Together? Even better, especially with Ina in the mix!


  18. Nutmeg Nanny — November 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    I love Ina too! I have had such good luck with her recipes. This recipe is perfect for Fall. All that lovely squash…yum!


  19. naomi — November 9, 2010 at 11:00 am

    You know I’m a butternut squash freak! This looks dang delish!


  20. Kristen — November 10, 2010 at 10:52 am

    What gorgeous photos and yummy recipe!


  21. Marla — June 29, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Honestly now I am craving the flavors of Fall with this beautiful risotto.
    It is vegetarian week at Get Grillin’ we would love if you submitted up to any 3 recipes (they don’t have to be grilled) to our link up. This one would be perfect!
    This week we have a ManPans giveaway. http://su.pr/3GCtXU


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