Butternut Squash Risotto with Apple Cider is perfect for a main dish or can be served with fish for a heartier meal. Wine gets replaced with apple cider to bring in plenty of fall flavor with a crispy sage leaf garnishment.
I’m obsessed with any kind of risotto these days. If its an option at a restaurant, I’m always down! Risotto is not difficult to make, but does require a great deal of stirring. All the stirring is well worth the end result when you are left with this creamy, rice dish with my favorite squash.
Cubing the butternut squash before roasting cuts the cooking time in half. Just pop the squash in the microwave whole for a few minutes to make it easier to cut. This is crucial to someone like myself, whom has been known to have a few knife incidents when attempting to cut into hard squash. A bit of olive oil gets drizzled over the squash cubes with salt and pepper and is all ready to go by the time your risotto softened.
Only around half of a butternut squash is needed for this recipe. I recommend still roasting the other half and saving it for a nice soup or saving it for a roasted veggie medley with your next dinner. Did you know that you can also roast your squash seeds much like pumpkin? See how to do this here.
Apple cider goes so well with the naturally, sweet flavor of butternut squash. Crispy, sauteed sage leaves top off this perfect medley of flavors with a bit of nutmeg, paprika and thyme. A sprinkle of red pepper flakes can be added for a bit of extra spiciness.
I think this would make a great Thanksgiving side dish for those looking to mix things up from the traditional pairings. I also recommend my favorite, Salted Caramel Sweet Potato Casserole with a pretzel topping…SO good! Okay, might as well make a Salted Caramel Pumpkin Poke Cake while you’re on the salted caramel train. A Caramel Apple Sangria is also the perfect, crowd-pleasing cocktail.
Butternut Squash Risotto with Apple Cider
- 1/2 of a butternut squash
- 1 C. Arborio rice
- 1/2 of a yellow onion; finely diced
- 8 fresh sage leaves
- 1 C. Apple Cider
- 5 C. Vegetable or Chicken broth
- 4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp. Butter
- 1/4 Tsp. Nutmeg
- 1/2 Tsp. Thyme
- 1/2 Tsp. White Pepper
- 1/4 C. Grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 C. Heavy Whipping Cream
- Pinch of red pepper flakes optional for spiciness
- Salt and pepper
Poke holes in the butternut squash and microwave for 3 minutes.
Cut the ends off of the squash and peel the skins with a vegetable peeler.
Cut squash in half vertically and remove the seeds.
Cut half of the squash into small cubes (around 1/2"). You may want to roast the entire squash to use for later.
Add the squash to a sheet pan and drizzle with around 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until softened.
While the squash is roasting, begin preparing the rice.
Add 2 tbsp. of olive oil to a skillet on medium/high heat. Once hot, add sage leaves and cook for around 2 minutes per side or until crispy. Remove sage leaves; don't rinse out the skillet.
To the same skillet, add butter and onion once melted.
Saute for around 3 minutes until fragrant, add rice, nutmeg, thyme and red pepper flakes. Stir for around 2 minutes until coated.
Add 1 C. of broth and 1/2 C. of apple cider.
Stir continuously until most of fluid is absorbed. Once fluid is absorbed add an additional 1 C. of broth and 1/2 C. off apple cider. Keep adding additional broth 1 C. at a time until rice has softened (around 20 minutes of cooking time). You may add additional broth of rice becomes too dry.
Once rice is softened; add butternut squash, parmesan and heavy whipping cream. Salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir and serve topped with crispy sage leaves.