Warm and Delicious Risotto. Chilly weather calls for warm and rich comfort foods. This risotto is the perfect flavor to ring in the rain and falling leaves!

Risotto is a traditional Italian rice dish made from a short-grained, starchy variety of rice called Arborio rice A properly cooked risotto should form a soft, creamy mound on a dinner plate. It shouldn’t run across the plate, nor should it be stiff or gluey. While not difficult, some essential tips will help you make restaurant-worthy risotto at home.

For about 20 minutes, you have ONE job: Stir the rice while adding hot stock, a ladleful at a time, and cook the rice slowly so that the stock is absorbed. The technique is called the risotto method. It releases the rice’s starches, producing a creamy, velvety dish, and it takes two hands: one for stirring and one for ladling. It is worth the extra effort to produce this delicious bowl or classic risotto. 

Made with Amore,


Butternut squash risotto in a square serving bowl

How to Make the Perfect Risotto

  1. Use Cold Stock
    Adding chilly stock to a hot pan will cool everything down and mess up the cooking process. Keep stock at a simmer in a small pan so everything stays hot and cooks evenly.
  2. Stir It Constantly (or Not at All)
    Stirring the rice constantly will add air into the risotto, cooling it down and making it gluey. But if you don’t stir enough, the rice will stick to the bottom and burn. Agitating the rice is important, because risotto’s creaminess comes from the starch generated when grains of rice rub against each other. So stir it often, but feel free to give your arms (and the rice) a break.
  3. Add Too Much Stock
    If you dump in the stock all at once, you’re just boiling rice. By slowly adding stock, you allow the rice to bump up against each other, creating that creamy starch. Wait until the rice absorbs all the stock to add some more. And keep in mind the ratio–about 4 cups of stock for every cup of arborio rice.
  4. Cook the Rice Till It’s Mushy
    Like pasta, the rice should be al dente–just cooked, with a little bite to it. If you can mold a risotto into a shape (yes, like some restaurants do) you’ve cooked it too much. Risotto should have body, but not be overly mushy and starchy. You’re not making rice pudding!
  5. Use a Wide Pot
    If your pot is too wide, the rice will cook in a thin layer and won’t be able to bump and grind enough to generate starch. Another problem: there will be hot and cold spots in your pot, so choose one that fits perfectly over your burner.
  6. Cook at Too Low a Heat
    Yes, risotto is supposed to be a slower cooking process; but if you cook it at too low a heat, it will never cook. The rice should be at a medium simmer throughout cooking.
  7. Cook Vegetables with the Rice
    Except for your mirepoix, you should add already cooked vegetables into your risotto after the rice is finished cooking. This is especially important for tender greens like spinach, delicate herbs like chives, lemon zest, and veggies like asparagus, mushrooms, legumes. Again, you don’t want anything mushy in your risotto! Make sure you cook your vegetables separately before adding them in.
  8. Add Cheese Too Early
    Save things like mascarpone and Parmesan for the end of the cooking process. Fat will break under heat and it will be, in a word, yucky. When the rice is finished, I like to stir in some fresh parmigiano and butter to give the risotto a light, silky texture.

Tips courtesy of Bon Appetite Magazine

Butternut squash risotto on a plate
Savory, Buttery, Creamy, and Delicious

Does the Kind of Rice Matter for Risotto?

In short, YES! Use only Italian short-grain rice varieties such as Aroborio, Carnaroli, Vialone, Nano, and Baldo (Arborio is the most commonly found short-grain rice). Short-grain rice has a high starch content and tends to absorb less liquid, resulting in a stickier, more compact risotto.

For a successful risotto, any substituted grain must possess the same basic qualities of Arborio rice. It must be high enough in amylose to maintain an al dente texture, even after long stovetop cooking. If you want that creamy rich risotto, I recommend using Arborio rice! Play it safe to get the result you desire!

Butternut squash risotto in a square serving bowl

What flavor does brown butter add?

Brown butter adds rich nutty and caramel notes to your baked good. It truly turns up the flavor of most any recipe and is a great little trick to keep in your back pocket when you want to impress with your baking and cooking. The brown butter with sage adds a special touch to this risotto recipe. Try it and you will see!

How to make Sage Brown Butter

Brown butter and sage are a classic couple in the culinary world. You can use the sauce to dress a bowl of pasta or add another dimension to this simple risotto recipe!

The process of browning butter consists of gently heating it in a skillet (I recommend stainless steel, so you can see the browning) until the water evaporates and the milk solids begin to brown, at this point it turns into a rich and toasty flavor. You’ll know the butter’s ready when it’s goes from a lemony yellow to golden tan to, finally, the color of toasted hazelnuts, or caramel. The smell is irresistible!

The sage imparts a deeply satisfying and herbal note to the nutty brown butter, adding another layer of flavor (plus a pleasant crispness) to the sauce that’s perfect in its two-ingredient simplicity. You can leave the sage leaves whole or chop them up to enhance their presence in the final dish. 

Here is another recipe you will enjoy with sage brown butter gnocchi

From my Cucina to your table. Mangia! (Eat!)

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Butternut squash risotto in a square serving bowl
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butternut squash in bowl

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto with Brown Butter Sage

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian


Chilly fall weather calls for warm and rich comfort foods. This risotto is the perfect flavor to ring in the rain and falling leaves! Enjoy.


Units Scale


  • 1 butternut squash (about 2 Cups) peeled and cut into small cubes (pre cut or frozen also works)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock, or vegetable broth -add more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, plus more for serving

Brown Butter Sage Sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons good quality butter
  • 56 fresh sage leaves



  1. Heat oven to 400 F. Place cut butternut squash on a baking sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle with olive oil and some of salt (1/4 tsp of salt) and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown (if using frozen: first first steam in microwave to soften and then bake for 15-20 minutes). Once baked- mash half of the squash with a fork and leave the other half in cubes. Cover the remained squash that was cut in cubes with foil and reserve for later use. 
  2. In a medium pot simmer chicken or vegetable stock on medium/ low heat. 
  3. In another (larger) pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir until it begins to turn opaque, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the wine and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt to the rice. Cook, stirring frequently, until all of the wine has been absorbed. Add about 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and cook, stirring frequently, until it has been absorbed. The rice and broth should bubble gently; adjust the heat as needed. Continue cooking the rice and stirring gently, adding broth 1/2 cup at a time and allowing the rice to absorb it before adding the next 1/2 cup. Cook the rice in this way until tender, 20 to 25 minutes in all. The broth that hasn’t absorbed will thicken by the starch from the rice. You may not need to use all the liquid, or you may need more broth or some water. The finished product will be a creamy mixture with the rice a bit ‘al dente”.
  5. Gently stir in the mashed squash and parmigiano cheese and take off heat. Dish the risotto into bowls. Add a couple of whole squash pieces on top and pour brown butter sage 1 tablespoon (or more) over the finished risotto. Serve hot! Mangia. 

Brown Butter Sage:

  1. Place brown butter sauce ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat until butter turns dark brown and golden color. You can also microwave 1 minute at a time until the butter turns slightly brown- careful not to burn!
  2. After dishing up risotto in bowls pour a big spoonful of brown butter sage and add extra grated parmigiano. Mangia!



  1. When you add a ladle of broth or wine to the risotto, make sure that you wait until the risotto has almost completely absorbed the liquid and the rice is nearly dry before you add the next ladle.
  2. It’s important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, to prevent scorching.
  3. If you run out of stock and the risotto is still crunchy, finish cooking it with hot water. Add the water a ladle at a time, stirring while it’s absorbed.

Keywords: Risotto, Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto, Brown Butter Sage, Risotto Recipe