Comforting risotto is a perfect vehicle for showcasing fall veggies. In this recipe, taking the little extra step of roasting the butternut squash first ensures a full-flavored rice dish that’s supper in a bowl. (Quick-roasting diced squash actually doesn’t take long.  Of course, if you have leftover roasted butternut from the slow-roasting method, you could stir a cup or so of that into the finished risotto instead of doing the quick-roasted dice.) Fresh thyme and Parmigiano give even more flavor here, and a dusting of toasted pine nuts is a nice finish.

Serves 4

  • 3 cups small-diced peeled butternut squash  (about 14 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup finely diced shallots, about 2 medium
  • 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Regianno or aged Gouda
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped or whole toasted pine nuts 


1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a heavy-duty rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. Toss the squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Spread the squash in one layer on the sheet pan. Roast, flipping once with a spatula if you like, until the squash is tender and nicely browned, about 25 minutes.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat the chicken broth over medium heat. If the broth simmers, reduce the heat to low, or just below a gentle simmer.

3. In a small (4- to 5-quart) Dutch oven or other wide, shallow pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil with 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-low heat. (Cut the other tablespoon of butter into pieces and set aside.) Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and somewhat shrunken, 4 to 5 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the edges of the grains are beginning to look a bit translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the apple cider and the wine and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed, about 30 seconds.

5. Ladle 2/3 to 3/4 cup broth over the rice (enough to cover it), stir, and cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed (and a spatula leaves a wide path when stirring), about 3 to 4 minutes. (Bigger bubbles will form in the rice as the liquid reduces. If the liquid is reducing too quickly, turn the heat down a bit.) Continue adding the broth, 2/3 to 3/4 cup at a time, and stirring almost constantly, until the rice is firm-tender (still firm to the bite but not crunchy in the middle—start tasting after 15  minutes), 20  to 25 minutes total. You will most likely use all of the broth. If you need more liquid, or want to loosen the risotto up a bit at the end, add hot a little hot water.  

6. Stir in the butternut squash, the remaining butter, the thyme, the cheese, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and several grinds of fresh pepper. Remove from the heat and stir again. (You want to break up the squash somewhat so that the flavor gets around the rice.) Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve right away, garnished with the toasted pine nuts.